Steve Jobs’ Ghost Gave Me A Cellphone

Yellowstone Sunset

This post is going in a different direction than I had intended. I was going to share how much traffic I generated from using a headline about “Spitting and Swallowing” that had nothing to do with sex but something sent me in a different direction.

Hidden Valley, Joshua Tree NP 4-13-13
Don’t know what it was, but I heard something that made me think of An Uncertain Certainty and decided a different direction was important. When changes occur you have to roll with them, do your best to adapt and adjust and move.

Cradle of Stars
That reminded me again about the post I was going to write and how I wanted to talk about the blog as a bully pulpit and how often it is meaningless but I have already done that and at the moment it makes no sense to write about such narishkeit.

Steve Jobs’ Ghost Gave Me A Cellphone

My cellphone is dying. My until recently dependable Samsung Galaxy Note II has decided it is unhappy and is doing its best to leave this plane and move on to wherever it is dead cellphones go.

I had intended on avoiding the iPhone because I am a free thinking rebel who didn’t want to bow down to the ghost of Voldemort and become a Kool-Aid drinking Apple fanatic.

But then something happened.

The Ghost of Steve Jobs came to visit me and he gave me a cellphone.

“Jack, I am the ghost of Steve Jobs and I want you to use this cellphone. Your friends and family will be jealous when they see what beautiful phone you have. This is an electronic wet dream.”

I looked at the specter and shook my head.

“Brother, a beautiful phone is nice but unless you have some sort of app I don’t know that I am unfamiliar with there won’t be any wet dreams here tonight. And if there is, please tell me there is an iClean your Sheets app to go with it.

Been 30 or more years since I had to worry about those things and these days no one is going to associate that kind of thing with puberty. I’d rather not have someone hand me a box of depends and a note suggesting I sit down with my primary care physician.”

The apparition just glared at me and I laughed.

“Ghost CEO, I am not scared of you. You are just a figment of my imagination. I have been stared down by real people, the kind that get semi hysterical about burning rivers and men who make fun of them. But if you’d like I’ll tell you about this great Android app you can use to make your ghost chick wail like a banshee.”

“Beware Jack Steiner, great woe comes to those who fail to heed my call.”

“Sorry ghost dude, I turn off my ringer and notifications because all that commotion is distracting. Next time I’ll make a note to give you a special ring and I’ll pick up. Nobody tells me what to do, when to move on or what phone to use”

Suddenly I realized I  was coated in some sort of slimy substance and I heard a chuckle.

“I told you Jack Steiner and that ugly doppelganger friend of yours that I am not to be played with.”

I shook my head and laughed.

“Ghost dude, I know things. Don’t mess with me. This slimy stuff is nasty but it is nothing a good shower won’t fix.”

There was a loud boom and then the room filled with light as morning broke.

Where Was My Beautiful Cellphone?

It took a moment for me to realize I was lying in my bed and that I wasn’t covered in slime or sweat. I was just another almost middle aged dude trying to figure out what the hell led to such a crazy dream.

I picked up my phone off of the night stand, turned it on and checked out my email. It took longer than normal to boot up and the back felt hot.

“C’mon phone, be like the Little Engine That Could and climb the hill, turn on buddy.”

While I waited for the phone to come to life I thought about what I want in my next phone. The newest iPhone, the one they call the 6 Plus appears to meet most of those needs.

In some ways it might be a better match than my Samsung. My kids would be happy to be able to Facetime with me as would niece and nephews. Though the Android market is growing the music and movies still seem to have a better ecosystem through Apple and their iTunes marketplace.

But I don’t like not being able to add memory, to swap out cards the way I have as well as change batteries.

“What about that ghost of Jobs, what do you have to say?”

The words hung in the air and the only response I received was a quizzical look from the dog.

“You know what I don’t like hearing about, how ‘beautiful’ the phone is. I am not buying art. I want functionality. I want something that works. That beauty line irks me.”

The dog wagged his tail at me and I thanked him for being true and loyal.

“You my furry friend are among my most trusted confidants. Remember one day I may come to you and ask for a special favor, but until that day you may live your life as you will.”

The Phone As Camera

As I rolled out of bed and shuffled over the shower I thought about the changes I have made here at the blog and my desire to tell a better story. Part of that tale is wrapped up in photos.

While the water pounded down upon my back I thought about my desire to become a better photographer and my preference not to have to carry my gear.

Would the tales I have heard about the iPhone camera compared to a Droid be enough to push me into the Apple camp. Or would I find that the only way I could obtain the type of photos I want to take be through a real camera.

If the ghost of Steve Jobs had appeared in the shower I would have asked but he didn’t so instead I settled for seeking out other means to answer the question.

And now my friends you know about one part of my current quest, the need to answer the question of whether I can get by with the camera on my phone or not.

I need to figure that out so I can serve the master that desires to become a better storyteller using images in addition to words.

The Verizon iPhone

I am not what you would call a cellphone junkie. I never cared to have the latest and greatest model. It is not because I don’t like gadgets because I most certainly do. If I had deeper pockets or stopped feeding my children my home would be outfitted with a lot more electronic gear than it is today. It is kind of funny to me that my son doesn’t realize that his father is much more of a gear head than I appear to be. The television in our living room is a 26″ beast that has been servicing our needs for about 13 years now. Every now and then I think about replacing it, but there are always things that get in the way, like tuition.

The cellphone, er smartphone is a different story. I switched from a basic phone to the Palm Treo five years ago and never looked back. The Treo and I enjoyed a solid two year relationship that was marred by a few hiccups, such as its proclivity for dying every six months. Eventually I tired of its antics and moved over to a BlackBerry, the worldphone.  It was a great change and I was very happy. It was Jack, the BB and Verizon a stalwart trio if ever there was one. The iPhone was introduced somewhere around this time and many people I knew made the move.

I did not. I had a bad experience with AT&T and their network a while back and saw no reason to switch. I watched as iPhone mania took over and admit that there were times that I wanted one. I listen to music constantly and wished that my iPod could be my phone too, but still I didn’t switch. RIM made my life easier by working out a relationship with Apple. So when I upgraded my BB to the then new Curve I was able to move 500+ songs to my phone.  And life was good again. But slowly I found myself growing weary of some shortcomings with the BB.

It was exacerbated by the happiness that many people found with their Driod phones. I was very impressed with the Droid X that @blindreviews showed me. That sucker is pretty cool and for a while I thought about picking one up. The main thing that kept me from switching is the price. Verizon simply charged far more than I wanted to pay for it.  One of these days I have to share my thoughts on how we are gouged by the cellphone providers, but that is a story for a different day. Anyhoo, the Droid X and I merely shared some flirtatious glances across a crowded room and I thought that would be it. I would wait a bit longer for the price to drop and then pick one up.

Except, I find myself intrigued with the idea of the iPhone. Now that it has made it over to Verizon I see myself eyeing that sucker and thinking about its sweet siren song. I am not a Mac person. Aside from the iPods there are no Apple products here, but I admit that there is something attractive about it. So I was intrigued to read what David Pogue thinks about the Verizon iPhone.

And to answer everyone’s question, the Verizon iPhone is nearly the same asAT&T’s iPhone 4 — but it doesn’t drop calls. For several million Americans, that makes it the holy grail.

That certainly catches my eye as does this:

In general, the Verizon and AT&T iPhones are identical. Same sleek, thin, satisfying, plastic-free body — all glass and metal. Same gorgeous, high-resolution screen — 960 by 640 pixels. Same battery life — you’ll need a recharge every night. Same camera on the back, which can take 5-megapixel stills or excellent hi-def video — the flash doubles as a video light. Same low-resolution camera on the front, suitable for Wi-Fi videochats, using Apple’s FaceTime software for iPhone or Mac.

Even the prices are about the same. The 16-gigabyte phone costs $200 with two-year contract. The monthly service costs, for example, $70 for unlimited voice calls, plus $20 for 5,000 text messages, plus $30 a month for unlimited Internet use. (Verizon says that it will soon eliminate that unlimited plan, just as AT&T recently did. Instead, you’ll pay something like $25 a month for 2 gigabytes of Internet data. Good luck figuring out how much that is.)

The single new feature in Verizon’s iPhone is Personal Hotspot, where the iPhone becomes a Wi-Fi base station. Up to five laptops, iPod Touches or other gadgets can get online, using the phone as a glorified Internet antenna.

Although, I have to concede that the price is still far above what I want to pay. The monthly service charges are significant, even though for me they are business related I never forget that I still have make the payment each month. Nor have I forgotten Apple’s proclivity for introducing new phones three days after the old one comes out. So I think for the time being I may sit and wait a bit longer. There really isn’t  a rush and I still haven’t decided about the touchscreen. I have big hands and there is something nice about having actual keys to press.

Decisions, decisions.

Thoughts About Cell Phones

Just some random thoughts about cellphones.

Is there a proper etiquette for handling a dropped call? That is, if you are having a conversation with someone that is abruptly ended by a dropped call what are you supposed to do?

Do you immediately try and call them back or do you wait for them to call you back. Here is a slight variation on that. You’re in the middle of a call when someone beeps in for the person you are speaking with. They click over and while you are waiting for them to return the call is dropped.

What do you do then?

You have probably noticed that some people have a habit of yelling into their cellphones. As you can imagine I have as much interest in their conversation as they do in mine. Sometimes I’ll react to their actions by singing quite loudly.

Other times I may respond by asking them if they still beat their wife or how do the neighbors feel about living next to a sex offender. I know, it is juvenile behavior and not very nice but sometimes …

Actually if I could I’d respond the way that these musicians did when someone began speaking during their concert.