iPhone – first impressions


OK – it’s been a couple of weeks since I got an iPhone; here are my initial impressions:

  • The obvious – yeah, it’s better than a StarTAC.
  • Battery life is problematic, and I’m not a heavy phone user. iOS 5.0.1 didn’t change anything for me.
  • The camera is great.
  • The lack of documentation – there is no owner’s manual included – is, to me, weird. Sure, this this the fourth iPhone. Does that mean everyone knows how to use it? While a very intuitive phone – if you know what it should do (gestures, etc) – how do I get pics off my phone? How to upload pic so I can have an old (non-iPhone) pic as wallpaper? Not intuitive. Lots of googling.
  • Another, more basic, example of how lack of documentation is silly: There are five physical buttons on the iPhone. What do they do??? Not hard to figure out, but, come on…just a drawing with arrows and labels…
  • Tight integration with iTunes is both good and bad. I’m on a Windoze desktop; probably less problematic on a Mac.
  • If I turn off my phone, Angry Birds resets to Level 1. Makes me…angry…
  • Notifications are awesome. I think this is new to this OS (iOS 5); to me, it seems like something that should have always been there. Part of the smartphone ecosystem.
  • Siri rocks.
  • I still mainly use it for a phone. It’s nice to have email there should I need it, but – generally – that’s rare for me. And I’m not into texting, so that’s another squandered opportunity.

That’s all I gots right now!

Blast from the past

Starring: Javier Bardem

What’s this movie about?

Based in Barcelona, Spain, it’s about life, love and loss – and the brutal consequences of action/inaction.

Bardem – in an incredibly understated role (even for him)- is the father of two children. He’s basically a human trafficker, poor, paying off the police…yet he still has legal custody of his children from his wife. So, she’s a mess…and a factor in the movie.

This is an art-house movie (with subtitles, warning!!!), but good on so many levels.

And weird/unexplained on so many levels. Is he the human trafficker with the heart of gold? Can he really communicate with the dead? What is the resolution to it all?

One of those movies that sticks with you, makes you wonder what this or that means. Very very good.

All movies

Earlier today, I saw a car pull up in front of the house. A guy got out, and then I heard the mail slot open and close (it’s got a wrought-iron lid).

I figured someone was giving us mis-delivered mail. We live on North Emerson, and it’s not unusual for our mail to end up at the same number on South Emerson.

I checked the slot, and in it was and envelope with a handwritten note on the front:

515 N. Emerson
I found these photos of your house while going through my mother’s things and thought you would enjoy the history.
[signed] Mike (Ames??)

In the envelope were two pictures of our house; one labeled “1950s” (our house was built in 1950), the other “1970s”. See the pics, and one I took today to compare, below:

Circa 1950s

Circa 1970s

Taken today, 11/14/2011

It was fun to see how the front has changed – and, especially, how little it has changed. We thought the garage was an add-on, and maybe it was, but it’s been around since the first decade of the house.

I like the 1970s picture – look at that little bush with pink and white petals on the garage side of the house. And look at today’s picture: That’s the genesis of our 30-foot-tall (or so) magnolia tree.

I wish the guy who delivered the pics had knocked on the door or something – I didn’t pay too much attention, but he looked to be in his 50s. He could be one of the kids in the 1950s picture. He might have enjoyed seeing what became of the place.

But a nice blast from the past from Mike (?) – thanks!

On joining the 21st Century…


Well, it had to happen at some point: I finally got a smart phone.

A little bit of history:

  • I purchased my first cell phone – a real brick – in about 1998. The account, with AT&T, is still used (for Romy’s phone).
  • In 2000, I was working with a start up, and everyone had cell phones that you didn’t have to pretend wasn’t check-on luggage. The phone of choice was Motorola’s StarTAC – the original flip phone.
  • That same year, I purchased my StarTAC; I think it was $149.99 for the phone, ordered online. I went with Sprint; I can’t recall why except for Verizon access sucked in the office in which I was working. I’m guessing others had Sprint and were OK with same.
  • Today, I picked up my replacement to the StarTAC – an iPhone 4s. Yikes!

Why get a smart phone now?

Ah, I’m a geek, but – while I do have gadget lust, I don’t need to be the first kid on the block with the new toy.

Don’t get me wrong – when the iPhone first came out in 2007, I lusted after same and said it would change the (cellphone) world.

And I was correct.

And each iteration of the iPhone – and the succeeding parade of Android phones – made me lust all the more. I confess!

At the same time, a better phone was just not something I needed – sure, it would have been useful to have the computer in my palm, but not necessary. I’m pragmatic.

Yes, I’m an idiot (to most geeks).

But I always said: When my built-with-the-steam-locomotives phone died, I’d get a top-of-the-line smart phone. As I did with the StarTAC (at the time, best in class).

The StarTAC – after 11 years – began to die.

Time to replace.

Replacement: iPhone 4s

iPhone vs. Android

OK, I wanted to get a smart phone as a replacement to my (dumb) phone, not just another flip phone etc.

Comes down to iPhone vs. Android.

It was a struggle – especially since, as I’ve outlined above, I’m not smart-phone savvy. Sure, played with phones from friends/co-workers and so on, but basically a novice.

Let’s leave price aside: The $149.99 phone I purchased 11 years ago has cost me about $13 a year. Not the kind of return carriers are looking for. I’ve known more than a few folks who paid for the iPhone, iPhone2 etc. Nice return for carriers (had to break contract or suck up cost of old phone).

OK, price aside: I want something that just works. Before today, it was a phone that worked as a phone (and better than my land line).

Overall, the iPhone just “works.”

Why Sprint?

Ah, this is the biggest “OMG I messed up” choice.

The iPhone is new on Sprint (the iPhone 4s is the first iPhone on Sprint; Verizon had the iPhone 4 and AT&T had all other iPhones exclusively). Agreed. So good and bad have happened in past (AT&T in San Francisco a nightmare, for example); the future may hold additional surprises.

At the same time, I’ve been with Sprint for 11+ years and have, overall, been satisfied. There was a period when I could get a signal everywhere except in my home office (yeah, that’s a problem…), but that’s cleared up.

I was able to – sometimes analog – call from weird corners of the US with Sprint; I’m hoping this keeps up (I’m sure I’ll be eating some of these words in the near future).

But the hardware and software is in place; we’ll just have to take from day to day, ja?