ALOHA FROM JENNIE: What was the first thing you decided to do when you woke up on New Year’s Day? When you are a senior, you don’t take special days for granted, so I bundled my pups into the car at dawn and rolled two miles down the road towards an island seashore to watch the first sunrise of 2016. As an amateur iPhone photographer, being able to share warm glowing images to the rest of the wintery world via our social media accounts is a fun pastime.
Half a dozen early birds were already on the beach taking photos, and after I snapped some dazzling images and videos, I decided to pick up my little one and wade into the waves to take a video of glistening water rolling on and off the pristine sand.
Well, the pup decide to wriggle hard while a wave toppled into us, and down we both went into the water. No harm done, I still had a leash on my little dog and she leaped back onto dry land in a flash, but I was left ruefully staring at a fifteen month old iPhone spiraling away into the ocean. New Year’s blessing number one, no one was hurt or traumatized in the mishap.
As a cord cutter with no landline phone, you quickly realize what life off the grid without a mobile device means. You’re not going to conveniently call someone for a ride if your car keys are in the ocean (luckily not our situation). You can’t text or read/send emails.
You can’t access your bank’s mobile app to see if you have extra cash for a new phone. You can’t check the cellular provider or Apple websites to see if they’re open on a holiday. You’re not going to listen to library audiobooks while you drive home. Blessing number two, you’re better able to appreciate the things you enjoy when you can’t have them for a while.
Turns out that both Sprint and Apple were open on New Year’s Day, and I had excellent customer experiences with both companies, although the personality of each service rep was wildly different. Michael at Sprint looked impassive when I said my practically new phone was in the ocean and I was going through withdrawal. He stoically reviewed lease versus installment purchase plans, as I kept up a stream of wisecracks about how I had just purchased a new pair of earpods and didn’t plan to get a new phone nine months before the new models are due to arrive, while he kept up his humorless processing.
Only at the transaction’s end did he express slight curiosity: So, were you like on a boat cruise or something? I said, no, I was carrying a dog, and had to make a split second decision to either hold onto the dog or the phone. He then gave an involuntary guffaw and then went back to being expressionless. At the end, he handed me the bagged phone and said, happy new year, while stifling a chuckle, so I could imagine him thinking, let's see where you go from here.
Ryen at Apple processed my AppleCare insurance pro-rated refund over the phone equally efficiently, but was a barrel of laughs. He asked right up front why the phone was in the ocean, and jokingly volunteered that if he were making the same decision about his girlfriend’s chihuahua and his own phone, he would have definitely grabbed the phone. He also made logical recommendations about refund methods and insuring the new phone, and ended the call leaving me with the feeling that I had brightened up his day.
Blessing number three: There are a lot of people who are good in their profession, even in the service industry where they must also contend with customers who might be irate or unable to explain their issues clearly. Kudos to Sprint and Apple for having competent and caring associates.
The rest of the day was invested in restoring all of the new phone’s applications and functionality. Despite the fact my old hardware was only a year out of date, I encountered new Apple iPhone and iOS operating system functions including:
- Medical ID ‘bracelet’ on your phone – For users like me who keep their phone password locked but go on dog walks without carrying identification, the Health app has a Medical ID module that can display emergency contact info and important medical data (like allergies) on the phone’s lockscreen, accessible by emergency personnel.
- 3D Touch – Geez, it seems like there are multiple ways to make touchscreens respond now, including a light tap, a long touch where you just lightly keep your finger on the screen, or applying a hard depress. This will take some practice.
- Live Photos – Still images are still stored in the .JPEG format, but there’s also an underlying .MOV video file created in conjunction with each photo containing 1.5 seconds of video movement and audio preceding, as well as 1.5 seconds subsequent to the still photo being snapped. We’ll have to think of creative uses for this feature, and hope that Instagram/Facebook will evolve to display these results soon.
Blessing number four: Technology rolls along at the speed of light, some advances are fun and useful while others are aggravating, but there is always something new to learn and apply to daily living.
As we share our experiences, I am reminded that each day is what we make of it, and am resolving to do our best to be open minded and embracing during the remaining time to come. May your new year be filled with good health and aloha!