Monday, January 16, 2012

Living the iLife: Look, Ma, No Manual!

It’s one thing to break all bad ass and switch from a BlackBerry to an iPhone but when the deed is done the challenge becomes living with it. I'll admit there are things I miss about my BlackBerry, especially when travelling. But would I go back to it? No, and by no I mean Hells No, but it is an adjustment and sometimes I wish I had a little bit more guidance. Mac-acolytes treat iPhone ownership as an intuitive experience so in other words no manual.

While the iPhone’s vibrant screen is a thing of beauty, I miss the feel of BlackBerry’s push-button QWERTY keyboard. My thumbs could type an entire blog post, as if exemplifying the seamless synergy between evolution and technology. Now I’m left jabbing my index finger at the screen like a cave-woman. And I’m not quite sure yet how I feel about Auto Correct. It seems to have both a sense of humor and a mind of its own. 

In the beginning I feared the iPhone’s rotating screen was going to give me a stroke. It whirled around when I didn’t want it to and stayed stubbornly still when I did. Sometimes, when I look quickly away and back, the screen has moved as if we’re playing a high-tech game of Red Light, Green Light, 1, 2, 3. 

“Are you trying to vex me?” I asked Siri. “I do not understand,” she said sincerely but I did not believe her. Siri, of course, is the voice of the iPhone 4S personal assistant. Activated by pressing and holding the home button you can ask Siri to make appointments, place phone calls and to give you directions to anywhere within in the solar system. Her Delta Quadrant maps could use a little work though.

iri was not a selling point for me. I didn’t really have a frame of reference for her since the only conversation I ever had with my BlackBerry was screaming obscenities at it when it wasn’t working. 

I screamed a lot. 

I warmed to Siri when on a lark I started asking her more open-ended questions. “Siri, what is the meaning of life?” When she said, “42*” I knew we were going to get along just fine. 

Everyone says that when you first get an iPhone you go a little app crazy, trolling the web for free and cool applications. I haven’t, but I can see it from here. I’m not a gamer. I’m not into Angry Birds, Words with Friends, or Angry Friends with Birds. It’s productivity apps that set my heart all a-flutter: Documents to Go, Flight Tracker, Drop (it like it’s hot) Box? Oh baby, it’s party time!

ne of the things that soured me on BlackBerry was the “App Wrap” segment on NY1. Twice a week, Tech Reporter Adam Balkin features the hot, new smart phone apps to hit the market. There’s always something for iPhone and Droid. BlackBerry? I mind as well be waiting for apps for my Palm Pilot.

ike Saturn car owners of yore, I find myself sidling up to and starting conversations with other iPhone owners. They are amazingly open and forthcoming. Now by contrast BlackBerry users seem angry and constipated … I mean frustrated. 

I always ask my fellow iFolk, “Are you happy?” Oddly enough the answer isn’t a straight, yes. They instead say, “I’m addicted.” which is different from being happy. But addicted is truly the right word for it. They should call the iPhone, iCrack because you get hooked and you get hooked fast.

I guess that would explain why in such a short time I’ve become a bit of an iPhone evangelist. “Brothers and Sisters in the house tonight, if you’re tired, if you’re weary, if you just want your phone to work, cast down that BlackBerry where you are, and come on over to the iPromised Land!"

Manual not included.

*From Wikipedia re: 42: The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy: In the first novel and radio series, a group of hyper-intelligent pan-dimensional beings demand to learn the Ultimate Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, The Universe, and Everything from the supercomputer, Deep Thought, specially built for this purpose. It takes Deep Thought 7½ million years to compute and check the answer, which turns out to be 42. The Ultimate Question itself is unknown.

Thanks for reading The Urban Erma. You can listen to the podcast on Podbean or subscribe for free on iTunes. In case you were wondering, in addition to blogging I am also a pretty good stand-up comedian. I do "Thinking Cap Comedy." If comedy were music, I'd be Jazz. Want to see a show? Check out my schedule at @

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