Tag Archives: iPhone

Virtual shopping has limits

The electronic thermostat in the family room needs to be replaced. My first impulse was to buy locally, but we had a coupon for $25 off a seven-day, programmable thermostat from Home Depot, and we assumed that they would have a bigger selection than our local hardware store, so off we went. The selection probably was bigger, but it was all from one manufacturer. We could get a Honeywell 1 week programmable unit, a 5-1-1 unit, a 5-2 unit, a 7-day unit, a wireless 7-day unit, a flush mount unit, an old-school, round, non-programmable thermostat, and all kinds of additional models that were variations of the above.

We narrowed it down to one choice and a quick check of Amazon via Andrew’s iPhone showed us that we could get it online for considerably less money, even with the coupon. In theory, I disapprove of people who go to a store to scope out an item and then buy it for less on Amazon, but sometimes the price difference can be compelling. The moral high ground can be slippery.

We also did not buy a ceiling fan/light/heater for our bathroom. Our current fan makes a god-awful sound, one that clearly indicates that something is wrong. Maybe all that’s wrong is that it is so damn loud, but we both remember quieter days and we’d like them back. The store only had a couple of choices and the list of features was short; noise factor and heat wattage. As a marketing professional, I was surprised to note that one model was touted as noisy. Was that a selling point? Did anyone come in looking for the noisy model? The other was ultra-silent. I thought silence was binary; it was, or it wasn’t. But the real sticking point for us was that while the noisy one would fit in the existing hole in the ceiling, we would need to enlarge it for the ultra-silent one. And by “we” I mean someone else. Clearly this was a problem best dealt with at a later date, so we wandered over to the Garden Center where Andrew can always find something to buy.

While he shopped, I read my Kindle. He was doing a final check of the gardening supplies in the cart when a little girl approached us, she was probably around ten, and said, “May I borrow your cell phone? I can’t find my father.” For some reason she directed her question to Andrew. Maybe she intuited that he had the cooler iPhone and that I was still using a Nokia flip phone with the Cingular logo on it.

He called up the phone screen and handed it to the girl. I asked, “Do you have your dad’s number memorized?” She said yes and proceeded to demonstrate.

Then she said into the phone, “I can’t find Dad.” I envisioned her talking to her mother in some other state and briefly wondered how she was going to get along with my own daughter when I ended up bringing her home. Luckily, her mom walked around the corner and they saw each other. The girl took a step away and then remembered she was holding the phone and came back. Then a quick “thank you” and she ran off to her mom.

That interaction made all the time spent not buying things worthwhile. If we had gone straight to Amazon, without the detour to Home Depot, we wouldn’t have been able to help reunite a little girl with her family. Unless that happens in an Amazon department I haven’t discovered yet.

iPhone for twelve

My husband has an iPhone. He’s on his third or fourth. He got his first one the day they went on sale in the summer of 2007. Or rather, I got his first one the day they went on sale. It involved getting up early in the morning and waiting in line all day, but that’s a story for another time. When he upgraded to a newer iPhone he tried hard to convince me to use the one he was retiring. I resisted. I had a phone. I still have it; a little flip phone that sports a Cingular logo. It does what I need it to do, make and receive phone calls.

This past summer, in yet another attempt to encourage me to embrace the iPhone lifestyle, Andrew set up one of his decommissioned iPhones to receive my email. I began to see the light. As long as I am in the vicinity of WiFi I can use my iPhone to do everything iPhone users can do – except make phone calls.

After I learned to obsessively check my decommissioned iPhone for email, I started to explore the games that Andrew had left behind. Some of them were variations of ones I had been playing elsewhere. Regular readers of this blog will remember my not-so-dirty little secret: I was a closet Webkinz fan, in it for the games. I have now graduated to a much smaller screen, with more than four primary colors.

I’ve even learned to download my own games. One addition to my gaming repertoire is Words with Friends. It’s just like Scrabble, without the threat of trademark infringement. You play a word, choose send, and now it’s your opponent’s turn. This game differs from the traditional face-to-face board game in a couple of disconcerting ways. If you play a set of letters that turn out not to be a word, you are invited to recall them and try again. No penalty. Perhaps even more egregious is that if you can’t make a word from your letters, you can play any old combination, without having a clue what you’re spelling. If it turns out to be a legitimate word, your score goes up, and it’s your opponent’s turn. There is no need to bluff, and there is no one to challenge you if you are bluffing. This is Scrabble for morons. And I love it.

Here is one of my new words: Qi. I have no idea what it means, but it comes in very handy in Words with Friends, especially if you can play it on a triple letter, or triple word spot.

Recently, I’ve begun using a free texting app. The first time I texted my daughter she replied, “Who’s this?” Once we’d ironed that out, I began to appreciate how convenient texting her could be in certain situations, like when she didn’t want to be overheard talking to her mother on the phone. Technically I can text on my little flip phone, but it takes much longer since, for instance, to type the letter ‘c’ you have to tap the number 2 key three times. I may be reaching my own personal tipping point regarding my iPhone turned iTouch. That costly data plan is still a deterrent, though. I’ll think about it for a little while longer and when I decide I’ll call you. Or maybe I’ll text instead.