Thursday, October 27, 2011

At 799

So, you are reading Blog Post number 799.  To be honest, I've probably at least 820, maybe 830 or so, but over time, many have been deleted for various reasons... either they just sucked, it was stuff I didn't want posted anymore, or it was no longer relevant.

And where have I been?  If there was a town called Busy, that would be my home at this point... though to say that, its not entirely fair, because I have had some free time--but either I'm wrapped up in The DFC, I'm working on the podcast materials or I'm just not doing anything because I've spent so much time doing all the other stuff that I need a moment to just be.  Just be.

That being said, I'm not neglecting the site, I promise.  I value each and every click I get on the page, and I thank you for it... and one of the reasons I've not posted much is because I'm approaching Post #800 so quickly.  And I want to do something special for Post #800... I just haven't had time to write it yet.

The Lovely Steph Leann is upstairs finishing a packing job, and we leave for a few days of vacation time with some dear, dear friends, and also some family that will already be there.  But when I return, I plan on sitting at this very desk and writing out what I want to say for my 800th "publish" click.

So please bear with me just a bit longer, know I haven't forgotten you, Dear Coffee Drinker, and in fact, this is a good time for you to go back and find some other stuff you may have missed.  To the right and down are tons of "tags" on all sorts of subjects--go for it.

And if you are reading this on Facebook, you should bookmark the Clouds page too.  Oh yeah, I also own cloudsinmycoffee dot com, and will me making that change soon.  Hopefully.  Maybe for number 800.

More to come.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Silver Apple of Death

I was 28 years old before I got my first cell phone.  I kinda wanted one a few years before that, living at The Deuce, but my credit was so bad that Bellsouth required a $1000 deposit before signing me up.  Well, you can guess that if I needed a grand for a deposit before getting a phone, then I probably didn't actually have $1000 anyway, so that went by the wayside.

When I got married, The Lovely Steph Leann kinda forced one on me.  I say "forced", though I wasn't necessarily opposed to it.  It was a little flip phone Motorola job, said "Cingular" on the front and served its purpose--that purpose not being for the interweb or emails or pics or anything else, that purpose only being for what its name sake says... cellular PHONE.

Like many people, heck, like most of YOU, I am now a little lost without a phone.  I am so used to carrying it around with me, so used to being able to check the interweb for anything and everything, its a little unnerving not having that power, and I can totally concur with the article I posted in July.

So Monday night, when I lost the power in my own iPhone for a good 18 hours, it was weird.  Almost liberating, yet terrifying. 

I usually do update my iPod on a nightly basis, and my iPhone every few days.  When I plugged my iPod into iTunes, iNoticed that there were several apps that needed to be updated, and one of them included... Facebook.  It was called Facebook 4.0, an overhaul of the actual app, and supposedly a new layout and a new design and its going to be easier to use and so on and so forth and heck, I'm going for it! 

So after a little while, I plugged in my iPhone to update, and after ten minutes or so--normally it would be a like, two minutes, but my computer is pretty crappy--it was finished.  I "ejected" and then pulled up Facebook on the phone to see the changes.

The app opened, and the words FACEBOOK stared back at me from a solid blue screen.  And it loaded.  And loaded.  And loaded.  And after about ten minutes of FACEBOOK on a solid blue screen, I hit the home button (the circle button at the front bottom) to go back to the regular screen.  I tried it again, hitting the FB app, and the same thing happened.  And this time, my phone froze.  I couldn't click out of it, I couldn't do anything else, and so after another several minutes, I did what I usually use as a last resort--I rebooted.  Hit the circle home button, and held the power button at the top for a few seconds, and the phone powered down.

I turned it back on again, it opened, and one more time, I hit FB.  And the phone froze.  Again. 

I rebooted once more, then decided I would reload the app.  So with some fancy finger work, I deleted the FB application, and then went to the App Store, found the "update" key, and click on "Facebook" to reload.  It re-installed, yet once again,  I found myself in this loop of FACEBOOK staring, frozen phone, reboot.   As I rebooted, I thought to myself, "Okay, its late, and I'm going to stop this nonsense and just go to bed."

And I did.

I finished brushing my teeth, put on my sleep shorts and shirt, and crawled into bed, with the intention of not checking FB, but just checking email, maybe seeing a few baseball scores and so on, so I clicked the phone back on from the reboot.  Like normal, the little silver apple came up, so I put the phone aside to talk to The Lovely Steph Leann while it took a few seconds to power up.

I turned back to it to see the little silver apple still there.  Turning away, I thought, "That's odd--that's a little longer than normal, but okay."  I did some picking up around the room, straightening the blankets and such, and crawled back into bed, only to find the silver apple still there.  And not moving.

Once more, I did a reboot.  I powered on, and the silver apple came up.  And stayed there.  The Silver Apple of Death.

I crawled out of bed yet again, and this time went downstairs.  I thought I'd do some online research on the iPhone and find out what to do... I found out two things--one, there is this trick you do with plugging it in to your computer, and powering up at the same time, and open up iTunes while singing Nichole Nordeman music, looking at The History Channel International and picking your teeth with the corner of a nearby index card... two, the Facebook app is deadly.

I did a combo of reboots and attempted syncing and other instructions as listed on several sites on the interweb, but nothing.  The Silver Apple of Death still stared at me.  Sighing, I logged onto the Apple Store website and made my appointment for the next afternoon.  It looked like there were lots and lots of appointments available, but having been to this store a few times with iPod and iTouch issues, I knew that a walk-in appointment was something hard to obtain... likewise, I wasn't lulled into a sense of ease when I signed up in a time amongst empty slots for visits.

The next day at work was like most others at The Caffeine Store, other than I had no phone.  I couldn't check the time.  On my break, I was so used to checking my email right quick, looking at Facebook quickly to see anything I missed, to check Twitter to see any news about Disney World, or The Rock, or anything else I subscribe to...

Essentially, it was just like life at 28 years old, before the cell phone.  And it was weird.  Weird and kinda great.  Almost as if I was able to get a small taste of how life would be were I disconnected... well, not completely disconnected, but maybe not as connected.  Remember, there was a time just a few short years ago for many people including myself, when texting wasn't really an option.  My first data plan allowed me 50 text messages per month.  With Melanie texing me about work and life, with Mikey and Matty texting me about The Deucecast, and The Lovely Steph Leann texting me instructions about where I need to go and what I need to do, I go through 50 texts by mid-afternoon many times.

Of course, the novelty of the disconnection was short lived, especially when I needed to check a score, or I needed to find out who sings a certain song, or what a certain lyric might be, or exactly how many movies has D.B. Sweeney done since "The Cutting Edge" (22, I think)--these are things I'm used to finding out at the drop of a hat, but when the smartphone is kaput, your answers are out of reach.

Leaving work, I make my way on Tuesday to The Summit and get into the Apple Store, right at 230, just in time for my appointment.  I check in, then stand off to the side and await my turn.  Like I suspected, a large number of open appointments online is no guarantee that I'll be in and out in a timely matter. 

"ding ding"

I'm standing there, staring at the overpriced accessories (seriously, who thinks $29.99 is a fair price for a rubberized piece of silicone that wraps your phone?) and I hear the familiar ding of a text.  My text.  I pull the phone out of my pocket, and stare at it.  And sure enough, there is a text from my pastor, one that was sent about four hours earlier.  And whats more, the Silver Apple of Death is no longer on my phone... my wallpaper is looking at me.  I open the iPhone, and immediately see what Facebook does when I try to open it--if I'm going to freeze up the phone, I should do it here, right?  If you are going to get sick, the best place to do so is the hospital.

Facebook gives me the blue screen, loads for a minute or two, and opens.  And there it is. 

And of course, after waiting already for 30 minutes, with a working phone in my hand, an Apple Apprentice greets me and asks me my issues.

I smile and say, "Ya know how when your car is making funny noises for a while, and then you decide to take it to the mechanic, but when you get it to the auto shop, it stops making noises?"  When he nods "yes", I reply,"Yup.  That's my iPhone."

I tell him my issues, and how its started working again, and he tells me how this Facebook app has been really causing a ton of issues, and lots of people are bringing in their iPhones and iPads with similar problems.  However, since it started working, it seems like my own iPhone has "broken through" the problem, and has come clean on the other side. 

Maybe soon I should disconnect completely.  Just put the phone down, not have interweb access at all times, just go back to the days when I had to go home to make a phone call, when I had to find an actual computer to check my email...

(laughing hard)

Yeah, I know.  I am so doggone funny!