Like most Americans, I like to complain.
Whatever has irked me - be it a problem at work, a squabble with my parents, a politician’s latest scandal, a friend’s thoughtless remark, or just a spontaneous burst of exasperation with my life in general, I relish in the rant. Also like most Americans, when I’m having a bad day, I think it only fair to let everyone know it – a goal readily met thanks to the wonders of text messaging technology. Within seconds I am able to disseminate my missives of misery to anyone I deem worthy, invoking references to Satan’s domain to get my point across effectively.
“WHO THE HELL DOES HE THINK HE IS?!”
“WELL, SHE CAN JUST GO TO HELL AS FAR AS I’M CONCERNED!”
“WHAT THE HELL DOES THAT MEAN?!”
Yes, it feels good to vent with the tip of my finger. Only trouble is, I have the new iPhone and it doesn’t believe in Hell.
The real issue is the phone. I am almost at the end of the contract that binds me to Verizon and to my pink Blackberry Curve. It hasn’t been a bad run; I’ve never had an issue with Verizon aside from their draconian tendency to declare a payment “late” five minutes after it’s due, and I mostly like the Blackberry. It has limits, though, the Blackberry – I would like a bigger screen, faster connections, and the ability to play music from my iTunes library. I have long dreamed of a single device that would replace the Blackberry/iPod Touch combo that I now carry everywhere I go for more than five minutes, and that dream could, of course, be answered by an iPhone. That slender, shiny object has long been the Holy Grail of technology about which I have barely allowed myself to dream; we are a Verizon family, I had A Contract, it was Terribly Expensive.
In a world filled with war, poverty and oil spills, it seemed beyond petty to spend time thinking about a phone, even a phone that would play my music, offer me Doodle Jump when my oral surgeon left me in the chair, and allow me to use my index finger to scroll swiftly to the last comment on a post. I do think about it, though, growing faintly fevered as I contemplate the possibilities. No more juggling the Blackberry and the iTouch while driving. No more endless scrolling with the little ball to get to the bottom of a screen. The end of receiving calls asking me if I had intentionally made a phone call when I had, in fact, dialed accidentally through pocket or purse.
After just 24 hours I'm more impressed with this device then I thought I would be and that says something because I was already sure it was a game changer. Most of the time when you have high expectations for a restaurant, movie, or gadget they rarely match and never exceed – but the iPad delivered.
Here are a few wow moments for me so far.
VIDEO: I know Jobs has influence over Disney but I'm still blown away by the free application ABC put out that allows you to watch in beautiful HD episodes of so many shows. I don't even mind the commercials since the content makes it so worth it. How other networks, (hello NBC, CBS & FOX), didn't jump on the initial wave is beyond me. If I ran a network I'd have every episode of a serial type show like Heroes up on this device yesterday on the chance it would intrigue some viewers to get back into the show. Other great apps such as steaming Netflix and MLB should also help deliver on the experience.
SURFING: Based on every review and the demos I saw I was expecting to be impressed by Safari. It was even better than everyone says when you are looking at sites you have seen every day.
Four people asked me what I wanted for my birthday last week and I gave each of them the same answer, “A new Filofax.” All four of them said the same thing. “No, you don’t. Nobody wants a Filofax any more. It’s so old-fashioned. Don’t be ridiculous. iPhone.” My daughter Maia was the harshest. She simply said, “Oh, Mom! iPhone.” It made me feel old-fashioned. It made me feel old.
For the record, I have an iPhone but despite the fact that four assistants over the last three years have religiously promised to transfer all my names and phone numbers into my computer and my iPhone, it hasn’t quite happened yet. And I never seem to have the time.
But I like my Filofax (even though it does sort of look like a truck ran over it.) It feels like a friend. I like it that it has names and addresses and phone numbers hand-printed into it. (Arguably, a few of them are dead, but I’ve learned not to notice. And I can’t quite bring myself to cross the names out. That would seem too final.) I use it in meetings to take notes. Sometimes, I’ll have a thought in the car or a random sentence for something I’m working on and I’ll pull over and jot it down into my Filofax. There are a few haikus that will probably never be printed anywhere else. I can gauge from them how sad I was on a given day. (Haikus are usually sad. The more comedic ones have found their way into my computer.)
If you have an iPhone (sorry if you don't) and want to take your daily technology coolness quotient to the next level, then you need to pay attention. You won't find silly games or time wasters on this list. These are helpful, and mostly free apps (unless otherwise noted), that will kick your tech life up a notch.
DirectTV – It no longer matters if you forget to program your DVR. Now you no longer have to miss a thing. This app allows you to set your favorite shows to record no matter where you are in the world. Even if you have multiple receivers. Search by shows, channel or date & time. It's quick, simple and delivers instant piece of mind.
Remote – Play, pause, skip and shuffle your songs, playlists and album art from your iPhone as if you were right in front of your computer. Works with your Wi-Fi network, so you can control playback from anywhere in and around your home and play it through speakers connected to the network in any room. Gives your home surround sound without the cost of construction. Guaranteed to impress your friends.
Every website has one...and so should you. Don't get me wrong. I LOVE
the Internet. I make my living because of it. I've been shopping on it
since Day 1. Used AOL before there was a World Wide Web when you had to
dial-up to get on. Being married to someone known in our circle as The
Man – because he can fix any computer problem – leads people to believe
that I'm as tech savvy as he is. People are continuously surprised when
they discover how low-tech I actually am. There seems to be a
disconnect when I explain that I just work on the computer, I don't
understand how it works. Sure, I can install software, program my
iPhone and even add more memory to a machine in a pinch, but when it
comes to setting up an email account, using a Blackberry, texting from
my phone or posting a video to YouTube, I have less knowledge than a
You won't find me on MySpace, Linked In or Facebook. Partially because I run three websites and want to have a life away from my computer...though I love it so... but mainly because I find the idea of "social networking" more than a little creepy. Is it really social if you're just typing on a computer by yourself?
I can’t imagine being separated from my iPhone for even a day. Its intuitive features have become essential to my life. But, now, with the application “Big Oven” I feel like my favorite room in the house, a kitchen, has been added to my screen. This is the BEST app that iTunes has to offer. Of course, that is only my opinion.
Big Oven is a FREE app for iPhone users only, don’t ask me why it’s free but it is.
How about a little tour? Big Oven says they have 160,000 recipes and in another place on the site there are 170,000, who knows? We all know how recipes collect and reproduce. (Unlike Al Gore, you’ll never get to the end!) My favorite feature is a random recipe that comes up and if it doesn’t interest you, you shake your iPhone and another one loads. Heck, I could do that all day and probably for years and never see the same recipe twice. Random recipes like Green Goodess Dressing. Shake it again and up pops a recipe for Almond-stuffed pork chops and then a quick shake and now a recipe for Peanut Butter Cookies. How very cool!
There are only certain places I can take her. She is sort of bulky;
she never orders anything. Nowhere too crowded, I wouldn’t feel right
taking up a booth with her. But at the same time, nowhere that doesn’t
have the possibility of running into someone more interesting, in case
I wanted to ditch her, or at least set her aside for awhile. Somewhere
with just enough scenic beauty to fill a background but not enough to
completely divert my attention from her.
Today I tried a new place that neither of us had ever been to, or perhaps she had, with a former companion. La Conversation, nestled just under Sunset on Doheny. I stared over her and people watched, hoping to enter into a ‘conversation’ with someone I had not yet met. I watched a beautiful older woman accompanied by her nurse and her nurse’s son. The woman daintily forked her salad while the nurse and her son loudly fought about his day and the nurse gulped down a smoothie. The woman looked past her dining mates in my direction, although her senility suggested she stared into space and wasn’t really interested in me.
One of the things I feel is emblematic of being a California Girl is the love of cars. The Peterson Automotive Museum is having a Low Rider exhibit right now. Bitchen, right? Personally, I can’t wait.
My earliest memory of the low rider culture was a song by Thee Midniters, probably the first significant Chicano rock bands to come out of Los Angeles. They had several hits, like Land of 1,000 Dances, but anyone who grew up loving music and cars in the 1960s couldn’t forget “Let’s take a trip down Whittier Boulevard, yeehaa, Arriba , Arriba!” It’s part of my DNA just as much as the love of surfing. In fact, when you listen to the song, it has that early surf sound. That reverb electric guitar Dick Dale made famous. But that’s a whole other story for another time.
Yes, a pedicab. That was my ride home last night. Crammed in the back seat with two friends, and leaving a party far away from downtown, the pedicab, peddled vigorously by a bearded mountain man named Declan, was our only chance of getting back to home base (by the way, I’m now convinced that pedicabs are the most expensive mode of transportation on earth).
We were a few miles away from downtown at a party given by MySpace which featured Nelly as the headlining performer. The crowd at all convention events always seems to be a mixed bag of ages and enthusiasm, which can make it hard to select a performer who resonates with everyone. I forgot, though, that every Nelly song has been in some sort of commercial and that as a result, even your grandmother knows at least one Nelly song (seriously, try it).