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Happy Freakin' (Belated) Birthday to Me: The Jesusphone Cometh [9/04/2008 06:14:00 PM]:
Yeah, I totally get it now. Wow. It's been barely three days since I got my Jesusphone -- er, iPhone -- and I completely and totally get the nickname. I feel like a kid who's been riding a tricycle all his life, only to be abruptly plopped down in the driver's seat of a fully-loaded Volvo and handed the keys. I'm in awe of this little slab of plastic & glass.

The funny thing is that I'd actually stayed well clear 'til now; I figured I could wait out the price a bit longer, I didn't really want to mess with our current phone setup, and I'd heard bad, bad things about the enormous bills we'd get saddled with if I got an iPhone. Oh, and two of my coworkers waited in line for four fucking hours to get one. Nope, not doing that, nuh-uh.

Then fate intervened, as it sometimes does. First my third-and-final Handspring Visor (bought off eBay, naturally, since Palm split-offs Handspring got gobbled back up by Palm a few years back and quit making 'em) died inexplicably, refusing to sync or, eventually, even turn on no matter what I did. It was only its many years as a trusted companion (okay, it and its predecessors, anyway) that saved it from me picking it up and playing hockey with it in the driveway. "Fine," I said, "I'll just use my damn phone. It's got a decent to-do list, it can hold all my contacts, and it's supposed to sync with my Mac, so that'll do." Of course, when I finally tried to sync my contacts, it didn't work -- turned out I had a too-old version of the Mac OS running on my laptop.

Then the laptop died. Or, rather, the legacy Airport card I'd bought on eBay & installed a year or so before died, having basically been fried by the heat from the damn laptop itself. (And yeah, I was using a little stand that lifted it off the desk, even.) Damn. Can't live without a laptop -- off I went to the Apple Store, and came back with a shiny (er, murky) new MacBook. Which is very nice on its own, definitely. And hey, it finally synced my contacts, although it did it weirdly, breaking each contact up into different personas for each phone no. And I had to keep track of calendar stuff separately. But eh, not a big deal; some is better than none, right?

Then we went to the beach. I had a fleeting thought as we parked the van up on the Galveston Seawall that I definitely needed to put my phone in the beach bag before going in the water -- I didn't want to leave it in the car, 'cause I'm a paranoiac who's sure the alarm people will be calling the very second I turn it off to say we're being broken into. Somewhere between the van and the water, I totally forgot about the phone. We set up, and my dad pumped up his big old innertube, which Abbie immediately wanted to ride, except that the hole's a little big. So here, she could sit in Daddy's lap. We rode the waves on our little tube, paddling madly when the swell neared us and actually catching a few, and as we slowly started floating back in, my hand brushed against the pocket where my phone was. Oh, shit.

I'm proud to say I was very philosophical about it. The first thing I did was start laughing hysterically, because I fucking knew I was going to do exactly that thing, and yet, being the bonehead I am, I went and did it anyway. And hey, it's just a waterlogged phone, right? It would probably be fixable, and besides they're replaceable.

Well, kinda. The salt water did a number on the phone -- if you do like me and dunk yours in the ocean, make sure you rinse it with fresh water before it dries. Otherwise the corrosion apparently sets in. So my phone was toast, dead as a doornail. And it turned out the one I had we got a good deal on; normally they cost $300 or so. Gah. So I went on eBay and found what I thought was the same model & brand of phone.

The folks who sold it to me (greenstreamtechnology, I believe) were speedy as hell -- I ordered it on the weekend and received it on Tuesday. I got it and quickly realized it wasn't the same phone I'd had before, but eh, that wasn't that big a deal. Heck, in some ways, it was better; I was finally able to sync both my contacts and calendar events, although the contacts still did the weird multiple personality thing. What the phone didn't do, though, was take pictures. At all. Every time I hit the camera button, I got a message saying "Busy. Please try again later." A little Googling, and it seems this is something common to phones of this model -- and it's a hardware, not a software, issue. Fuck, fuck, fuck.

This was turning into a mess. The greenstreamtechnology folks were extremely understanding and immediately offered to do whatever it took to make me happy, but I was still out a fully-functional cellphone. So one night when the wife & I were watching TV, I mentioned my dilemma with the phones and grumbled that someday I'd have to go to an iPhone if I really wanted a phone that'd work fully with my Mac. Her response: "Well, why don't we just get you one and quit messing around with these other phones?"

And off we went to the AT&T store (after I'd picked my face up off the floor and demanded to know what this impostor had done with my wife), where we picked up a brand new 3G model for me for $200 or so, plus an extra $30 a month on the cell bill. I cringed when we decided to go for it and get it, expecting to be told we'd need to come back on the fifth alternate Tuesday or something to wait in line with half of southwest Houston to get the phone, but the lady just said, "I'll go and get you one out of the back." And there it was.

I'm sold. This is the future of phones, absolutely and completely. I'm not going to declare that it's perfect, but damn, it's perfect enough for me, anyway. I've got all my contacts and calendars synced, I can happily read/send both home and work email (woo!), I'm watching more movies on YouTube than I ever have in my life, I've got some nice-looking pics I've taken with the camera, plus a hundred or so I've synced over from iPhoto, I've bookmarked a pile of stuff I want to read on it, and I've downloaded every free little app I could find. I'm bummed I missed out on the iSaber, unfortunately, but Dual Level is very cool (it's the one that most impressed my DIY-loving father-in-law, naturally). Plus, there's Pageonce, which lets me immediately get all my info on everything from my Netflix queue to our mortgage, and the CW39 Houston Traffic app, which is -- no lie -- free almost-real-time webcams of various traffic spots around Houston.

Oh, and y'know the one thing I haven't really been using the 'phone for? Music. Weird, I know, but it just doesn't gel for me, not yet -- I find myself enjoying the heck out of the phone's other features, enough that I haven't bothered to move much in the way of music over to it at all. Besides, I already have a fully-stocked iPod, so why do I need another? Maybe when they come out with a 60GB iPhone, in 2015...ah, I can dream.

So happy freakin' birthday to me, dammit. (It was yesterday, but I'm still celebrating.) I'm loving my little present-to-myself. Now I've just got to figure a good way to blog from the thing...

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