The small, benign, white box arrived with a knock and a wink from the postman. It looked harmless enough.
Yet it caused a firestorm of bouncing activity from my children. “Open it! Open it!” they screamed in unison, and I promised I would, if they would only come down from the rafters. “Aren’t you excited?’ my daughter asked me, once she was floor bound. I warily told her this little box was about to cause me a whole world of pain and frustration, so no, I wasn’t.
From their perspective, these innocent babes, all you needed to do was turn it on and begin enjoying your new iPhone 5, gaze at its vivid images, marvel at its lightness, and then download every gaming app known this side of Silicon Valley. If only. The seasoned veteran within me knew that opening this was akin to Pandora opening her box and unleashing evil on the world. That is if you equate evil with many hours of wrestling with technology, as I do.
Among my many hats I wear, the one I like almost as little as digging mold out of the seam of the kitchen sink is that of the Chief Technical Officer. I deftly donned it, brim at the back, before finding a knife to slice open the plastic that was tightly wound around the source of my future angst.
In this department, the angst one, that is, it has not disappointed. In the last week I have been to the local Rogers store for a new SIM card, since the one they had sent couldn’t be read. I went to the Apple store after my emails were not downloading, and they fixed it by doing a hard reset.
All before I had tried to sync it with my desktop computer. Cue the pain.
The whole point of getting this iPhone was to have my calendar on hand at all times. But because my desktop is ancient, being from 2007, they told me I have to upgrade my operating system in order to reap the benefits of iCloud. I pursed my lips and thought about the last time I upgraded my operating system, and about how my printer has never worked the same since. Oh no, they assured me, Lion is nothing like Leopard, it will be much smoother! Easy as pie.
I hit the ‘purchase’ button, and then spent the rest of the day fixing everything I cursed in that flash moment. My emails are organized poorly, my calendar is not as vibrant and in an inferior font, the music system in our house immediately went quiet, but most importantly, my treasured Microsoft Word, gone. GONE from my dock. I can barely make out the remnants of the W that once stood for ease and happiness in my world, a big circle with a line through it indicating I can no longer access it.
I haven’t tried to print anything yet, I can only handle so much at once.
I’m still in recovery mode, now researching whether I should buy Microsoft office 2011 or if I should buy Apple’s cheaper word equivalent, Pages. Slightly irritated, but still hopeful that this will be the last frontier I must scale before skating down that easy iPhone path promised by so many.
In the parental press box, I had become a dinosaur. For years, while others videoed their children using a device barely bigger than their palm, I scouted my surroundings for a power outlet to plug in my comparatively enormous camcorder.
Good things come in small packages, many will be heartened to hear, in the world of video cameras.
I’m excited. My heart is beating a little bit fast, even though I am sitting here on my tush typing away on my computer. I have truly taken a giant step forward into the twenty-first century of technology. I bought a Flip video camera.
I realize these have been around for years, but they are new to me. I guess I have been so overloaded by the frenzy of Apple products, that I have overlooked this tiny video camera that is smaller and lighter than my Blackberry.
It really is a crime that I have three kids who can be incredibly delightful at times, and yet an extremely outdated and limited capacity to capture their essence on video. Our former beast of a camera was one that required it to be hoisted on one’s shoulder, and would film for approximately five minutes before the battery lost power. Furthermore, it would record onto these tiny cassettes that are unplayable anywhere in the world but on your actual video camera.
As I charged our old behemoth in preparation for my daughter’s gymnastic competition, she begged me to not bring it. It was too embarrassing for her. Normally I would chide her for this, but this time I was relieved. It had crossed even my higher threshold for embarrassment. I gladly left it behind.
At the competition, a mother beside me pulled out what I thought was a tiny camera, but in fact was the Flip video camera. I immediately realized that all this time I had been mistaking this much heralded video camera for a still camera, since that’s what it looks like. And the Flip doesn’t actually flip. Maybe it did at one time in its life, but the latest models don’t require opening. They are ready to capture what’s happening in front of you, just push the red button.
The biggest advantage to the Flip is there are no tapes, cassettes, cords, or strings attached. You simply press a button and the USB connector flips out (ah, is that the namesake?) and you connect it to your computer to both download your videos and recharge your camera. So this is why YouTube has become so accessible.
If I sound like an advertisement, apologies, I wish Flip was paying me to write this but sadly they are not -I bought it for $150 at Target. I’m just excited that I can capture little moments in my kids lives without looking like I’m filming a segment for the evening news.