Friday 13 February 2009

Happy Valentine’s Day iPhone

Happy Valentine’s Day iPhone.  Never leave my side.  I’d be lost without you.

OK.  As you can see, the honeymoon period isn’t exactly over.  It’s been six months or so since we met, but I’ve grown accustomed to her face and can now gauge how my life is different since I met her, and how I want it to stay this way forever.

A few months back a friend called me and said... ‘Hey Mr. Kelly, want a new iPhone for €99,’ and I said, ‘Hey.  Yeah.  Why not?  I hear she’s something special.’  It was a blind date.  I had no idea...

When we met it was strange.  I held her immediately tightly.  She was so small, and light in my hand, I found myself exploring her surface in disbelief.  She was so beautiful.  I kept finding new things, touching, swiping and pinching, and I instinctively and immediately felt like protecting her in case she got a bump or scratch.  A cover, a guard.  Oh yes... if something happened to her beautiful surface I would have blamed myself and I couldn’t cope with that.  I wasn’t good enough for a smartphone this beautiful.  But I knew nothing of her power.

A mate introduced me her App store... Wow.  I hadn’t even noticed the funny little icon skulking shyly beneath the calculator.  You see, when she was a doddle to integrate with Outlook, iTunes etc, etc, etc. I thought great, that’s it.  What’s all the fuss about.  But I was so wrong.  It was just the beginning.  The early days were halcyon though. Everything worked, if you read the instructions, but they mostly said ‘plug it in and don’t touch anything!’ which is exactly what I did.

The most incredible thing about her I think is that everything does work, which is strange if you’re a techy like me and used to the challenge a new machine offers for setup, tweaking... optimizing.  That used to be both the frustration and part of the fun.  Tempting a new machine into working for you.  The chase.  Not being beaten.  Conquest.  But the iPhone was such a pure doddle I ended up doing things I never thought I’d do.  Just for the hell of it.  Waiting to be let down, to confirm my insecurities, but no.  We had such fun.  For example, I’m not a big music collector, but I had to use the iPod, simply because it said it worked and it did work.  Immediately.  The early Leonard Cohen sounds just didn’t fit though because I was too happy with my new machine, not sad... So, I moved on.  What else worked?  Well... let me tell you.

Social network applications work perfectly without opening your Safari browser: Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter and a few others.  When a mate I haven’t seen for 20 years say’s ‘I’m bored’ I know he’s bored immediately.  (OK, that’s a bit sad, but you take the point).  When Stephen Fry is stuck in a lift, I can see him in the lift. It was pretty funny actually.  He’s a big tech head it seems and he tweets fun stuff around.  (E.g., ‘devolve-me’ - see what you look like as an early human -

Then there are the email accounts, SMS, WiFi, Contacts and Phone, Maps, Around Me, Vicinity and Google Earth.

Then there are the free retro games (Submarine, Pacman etc) and the widgets which use the angle of the machine, (Biiball and Topple).  Then fun marketing ones like Carlsberg and Zippo.

Then there’s the music apps (Piano, Guitar, minisynth (kids love this one)) and Ocarina (a wind instrument believe it or not.  You blow over the mic and put fingers over the virtual holes.)  It all works

Then there’s the Television app, where you can.... em, watch TV for free, another one where you can control your SkyBox at home and then there’s the Radio (200 or so categorised stations (no BBC though).  Reference (Google, Wikiamo, WorldWiki).  YouTube is great too, and works really well, with full screen and good sound.  eBay too if I had something left to sell.

Then there’s the academic stuff.  Stanza (1000s of copyright expired classic books), Translaters (Ultralingua, French, Italian).  The language phrase books actually say the words for you so you’re pronounciation is good.  If someone answers you’re stuffed but you’re half way there.  (‘Help.  I need my inhaler!’ ‘Τι είναι μια εισπνευστήρ? ‘Uggggggghhh?’ 'He say's his hovercraft is fully of eels!' 'No, can I change this record, it is scratched.' 'Ahhhh... Second turn on the left, The chemist is on the corner.')

Then there are the utilites.  Stocks n shares, Notes, word and spreadsheets, super clock, calculator, calendar, text, blog writer and pic grabber and poster. 

And, that’s only the start.  One of the joys of my new friend is finding all the rest of the stuff you can download and run for free, or nearly nothing.  It’s also the weakness.  She can eat up time.  It’s a work machine, a toy, an education and finally, did I tell you?  It’s works?  That’s the bit I can’t believe.  5 rewarding minutes spent with her is like a week with another resulting in failure.  You choose.

Loyalty grows and she never leaves my side.  My laptop is in a jealous sulk and my workstation is ready to dump me and isn’t even talking to the network.  ‘But it’s only a phone...’ I hear you say.  ‘There are plenty more phones in the sea.’  Yeah right!  Thought you’d say that.  Well, I can’t listen to that now.  I just have to check to see if Stephen Fry was up for the ISDN linked voice over in London before filming this morning.  He shouldn’t have had that last voddie!  I suppose, after a night shoot, you’d need something to help you sleep.  Twitterific! 

So, Happy Valentine iPhone.  Listen, are you doing anything on Saturday?  You see, I’ve found this lovely restaurant...  What do you think?  Don’t worry.  I’ll plug you in for a re-charge later afterwards... Whatya say?

Tuesday 10 February 2009

Very Short Story: Friday Night Mobile Marketing: Dublin 2012

Keith left the front door of his apartment and tweeted.

Keith: ‘OK.  I’ve left.’

Fachna: ‘Stuck in a lift, should be there in 20.’

Sophie: ‘I hate snow.  Who knows.  1 hour?’

Keith @ Sophie: ‘Come when the kids are down.’

Sophie @ Keith: ‘I’m hardly leaving when they’re running around.  Am I...’

Fachna: ‘It’s decided.  Goggins’ at 9.30.  So sick of this lift guys.  Something smells baaad and it’s me.  Not this time anyway! J

Passing the Cineplex Keith was vouchered.  ‘Mermaids of the Caribbean with Bradly Armpit and Sterile Creep.   30% off with this voucher.  Offer till 9.30pm, Dun Laoghaire Branch.’  ‘Damn’, thought Keith.  ‘I need to leave BrightKite on so the crew can follow.  I’ll be voucher central by the time I arrive.’

He was right.  5 minutes walking - 5 vouchers.  One a minute.  Vouchers for tyres, burgers, holidays, a charity and bizarrely, free dog grooming had found his iPhone and entered it as he moved toward his local.  ‘How did they know I have a dog?’

Text from Sophie: ‘Where are you?  I’m at the back – smoking section.  Guinness?’ Reply: ‘Yep.  There in a bit’.  

iPod time.  Girl from Impanema retro-electro.  Free iTune with a Big Mac.  Quite good really, he thought.

Hitting Goggin’s he went straight to the smoking section.  Empty. Panic set in.  Did they go somewhere else without telling me? Text to Sophie: ‘Thought you said Goggins’ smoking section.  Where are you’ Reply: ‘Patience pet.  I’m on the loo.  Are they there yet?’  Keith breathed a sigh of relief and sat down.

‘Heya!’  It was Shelley. ‘Hey Shells.  Sophie’s in the bog.  Drink?’ said Keith.  ‘Thought she said an hour?’ said Shelley.  ‘Sophie O’Neil, not Sophie Sophie.  Look. Fachna’s stuck in a lift, but he’s on cam.’  ‘Hilarious,’ said Shell, and clicked ferociously on her screen.

Both Sophies arrived at the table at the same time and joined Keith and Shell. Fachna cammed from the lift with the help of Hotel wifi.  Keith sat back and surveyed the crew, taking the odd suck from his pint.

‘So.  Any news?’

There was a short pause while they all looked at each other, then at their phones and then they exploded with laughter.  ‘Not in the last 30 seconds ya eejit,’ said Sophie Sophie. ‘But we’ll keep you posted!’  Then each, in turn, picked up their respective phone from the table and started tapping.  ‘Another monosyllabic Friday in Goggins’,’ thought Keith and gestured the barman for a fresh pint.  ‘I should’ve stayed at home!’ Then he took out his own iPhone and joined them… each in their own respective personalized mobile silo lifeworld interconnected by messaging, tweets and status updates; separated by a few feet of table and a few drinks, or in Fachna’s case, a few miles and the wall of the lift stuck between the 14th and 15th.  Videos and pics passed.  Occasional snickers and the odd… ‘Get a look at this!  Have you downloaded this one?’ ‘That is so cool. Send a link.’  And then back to tapping.

Tweet: Sophie @ Keith: ‘This is so ****ing boring.  Let’s get out of here. Have some fun if u want to.’ Keith @ Sophie: ’15 mins.  Your place.’  Sophie got up suddenly and speaking as she left said, ‘I’ll see yous.  Don’t wait up.’ Keith @ Sophie ‘Kiss kiss – Mwah!’  Sophie @ Keith ‘J

Keith was vouchered again on the way back to Sophie’s and annoyingly one was a ‘Buy 1 get 1 Free’ for Guinness at Goggins’.  ‘Reliability in a World of Change. Offer closes midnight.’  ‘Might have numbed the boredom,’ thought Keith.

Reaching the door he got a text from Fachna ‘Hey mate.  Out of the lift now so off cam.  Where are you guys? Physically I mean.’  Keith replied: ‘Sorry mate, you missed it, home now’.  ‘Bo**ocks,’ texted Fachna.  ‘What a Friday night that was!’ Keith felt guilty.  Poor Fachna.  So not fair on him.

But as he shut the door to Sophie’s apartment he heard a baby’s distraught cry.  He’s up,’ called Sophie.  ‘Damn it!’  Keith looked up the stairs and listened as Sophie picked her infant son up from his cot, and carried him to the bedroom. He looked at the TV screen flashing away in the front room, and he looked again at Fachna’s text. 

Text to Fachna: ‘Feck it mate.  Goggin’s in 10 mins it is.  You need a Guinness. It’s on me.’