iPhone 5 box


I Love Libraries

I haven’t done a meme in what seems like forever, but I also haven’t really been posting so I thought I’d put my answers here from Clari Clyde.

Comment on this post with “I love libraries” and I’ll give you seven things I want you to talk about. They may make sense or they may be totally random. Then post that list to your journal with your commentary. Other people can get lists from you and the meme merrily perpetuates itself.

Scroll down or follow the jump for my list and responses.

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On a good day, when things actually do what they’re supposed to and I don’t have to fiddle with things, I enjoy the comfort that technology brings me. I like using my computer, though I don’t necessarily enjoy the work that has to be done on it. Once I understand how to use the options I want, I am generally quite attached to both my cell phone and camera.

Today was not a good day. Today nothing wanted to work right. First, the new external hard drive I got was doing something or other that was making my computer run like ass. This is not good when you have no less than 50 million things you need to do on your computer. It would be frustrating even if I only had 5 things to do! If that wasn’t annoying enough, it seems my CD tray isn’t functioning. It doesn’t seem to want to open half the time. No, half the time would have been a week ago, now it’s more like 99.9% of the time. I could get it replaced, but I am loathe to put money into a computer that is going to be replaced shortly.1

And then, of course, there’s my wacky cell phone which in ongoing quirky issues it has today decided that all the dates in my calendar were from 1970. Awesome. No, wait, it’s that other thing…

I managed to fix that problem after spending a very lengthy amount of my day working on it. I think part of the reason it is having trouble with maintaining the imported data is that it’s not importing it fully — or rather it imported it just fine but it isn’t updating things as it should. It should be backing things up to iCloud while syncing with Google, but instead it seems to only do one or the other. I don’t know why. I’m too aggravated to figure it out, but I duplicated all the information from Google and manually imported it to iCloud which seems to have fixed things and oddly now everything is syncing and backing up without a hitch. Again, no idea why. But I’m not complaining. I do have like 400 backups of my contacts and calendar and whatnot, though, so if the phone decides to blow up at least I’m safe. ;-)

Anyway, it’s been a frustrating day and I’m happy to stop typing this and be done with computer things for the day. I apologize if this is filled with typos and terrible grammar, but I’m not even bothering to look it over for fear something else might go wrong and I’ll be stuck here for even more time trying in vain to fix things and not just chuck shit at the wall.

  1. Read: when I have the money or a new computer drops out of the sky, whichever comes first.

iPhone 4S

I’m still relatively new to the smartphone. I have a love-hate relationship with them. For the longest time I was firmly planted on the side of the fence where all that really mattered was that my cell phone make phone calls. Crazy, I know. I didn’t need to take crappy pictures with it. I thought texting was a waste of time. And if I needed to check my email or surf the intarwebs that badly, I had this shiny computer to do that.

Quite honestly, I don’t even remember when I moved away from that camp. I know I eased myself into the idea with a Blackberry Pearl. It was cute and small and I remember that I was able to check my email and send a text before I figured out how to actually make, you know, a phone call on it.1 Eventually the lack of a full keyboard frustrated me enough that when my next upgrade rolled around I got a Curve.2 Anyway, eventually I got tired of the limitations of the Blackberry software and the fact that I had somehow gone through five phones in two years.3 So last year I got myself a shiny Motorola DROID2.

I chose it because it has one of the largest screens and still has a full keyboard, which ended up being pointless because even though it was about 50% larger than the Curve’s keyboard I typed with even less accuracy. The cloud features are awesome and certainly saved me tons of time that would otherwise have been spent manually backing up the phone. But it lacks a lot of things that I didn’t really think about before purchasing it. It can store music, but only specific file types and half the time the conversion process doesn’t work. Same with video files. If I downloaded a video I took ON the phone and tried to put it back on later, it generally wasn’t able to play it. However, the biggest letdown was the lack of built-in accessibility options. Honestly, I don’t know how a fully sighted person can read the default text size on an Android phone; it’s tiny!

Really, I didn’t want any of those phones; I wanted an iPhone. But that wasn’t an option before unless I wanted to change carriers. So, I was ever so excited that the 4S was coming out right around my upgrade date. I was wary of the lack of keyboard. I don’t really like that you can’t utilize a memory card in it. And given my track record isn’t so great with not, you know, breaking my phones I was more than a little concerned about having a very expensive, glass phone.

Anyway, I pre-ordered it and it got lost by Fedex and then the new shipment got delayed and I’ve had it since Wednesday. I got it all set up and working and was having tons of fun with it all Wednesday afternoon and evening. At some point during my playtime the speech suddenly stopped working. I figured I did something and eventually I’d figure out the proper settings. The next morning I still couldn’t get it to work and so I went to the Internet for some help, which proved unsuccessful. But during all of that I noticed that my contacts’ information was loading that everyone was from the Netherlands, including myself even though the phone’s settings were for the USA. More Internet research frustrated me to the point I called tech support. I knew there was trouble straight away when the specialist replied: “Well, I’ve never heard of that problem before.” Three hours and a full factory reset later everyone was back in the Home of the Brave, but the speech still didn’t work. No, actually it only sort of didn’t work because sometimes it would say stuff but not consistently. After this long phone call I noticed the phone now wasn’t making other sounds, like actually ringing or making most alert noises. Oh, and the zoom feature wouldn’t work either. The tech was baffled. I was annoyed. I was told to get the phone replaced.

So, Friday, I went to the Apple Store. The first available appointment was something like five hours later, but apparently my sob story of crazy phone antics was such that the person setting up the appointment pitied me to a point that she went off and fetched her manager. He was equally baffled by all the weird things going on with the phone and seemed even less confident in solving everything than the guy on the phone the day before. He took the phone, told me to come back in an hour and we’d go from there. I have absolutely no idea what they did to the phone but when I came back after our portrait appointment it was talking and ringing and zooming and all my settings and music and other stuff were there. Also they cleaned the screen, which I’d managed to get nice and grungy already even though the phone wasn’t really working.

I might have more practical things to say at another point, but I’ve basically been playing with it nonstop since then and, um, I LOVE IT!

  1. That was after I took it out of the box, immediately dropped it on the floor and then kicked it across the room while (blindly) trying to find it.
  2. That would be the phone that took a trip through the washing machine.
  3. Two Pearls and three Curves, counting the one that got laundered.


Without a doubt yesterday morning was one of the top five most aggravating mornings of my life.

At some point on Sunday my Droid clued into the fact that I have ordered an iPhone and promptly ceased cooperating with me. Initially I thought it was the same glitchiness I’ve been dealing with ever since updating the Android OS because while trying to send a tweet the screen would freeze while I was typing and then my Twitter app would crash. It became obvious, though that typing in general was an issue and neither the physical keyboard nor the onscreen one were functioning properly. I did a reset and that didn’t work and so I went to bed hoping that it would magically fix itself and expecting to call Verizon in the morning.

Well, it didn’t fix itself because electronic devices don’t do that, especially not in my house. So, I called Verizon and after an hour of the tech support rep making my phone perform virtual gymnastics we fixed the typing issue. Except it wouldn’t log into my Google Account. If you’ve ever had a cell phone issue, I’m sure you’re aware that every problem is supposedly fixed with a reset, this started a long sequence of doing just so. I say “long” because apparently there are countless ways to reset my phone. I knew we were heading down a bad road, though because every time the phone booted up and I went to log in and couldn’t the rep got just slightly more baffled. Eventually, he exhausted his database of helpful tips and sent me on my way to Motorola where the heavily accented rep there had me repeat about 65% of what I’d done with Verizon before hitting on the new tricks that finally made my phone believe my password was too correct.

I thought, “My day can only improve from here,” and so I was immediately brought back to reality when I checked the mail and discovered the boxes of cupcakes were still sitting on my porch. The mail was delivered, complete with a carrier pickup notification that didn’t give me any information whatsoever as to why my boxes were not picked up and instead lounging in a late morning sunbeam. I called my post office. The line was busy. I called USPS and maneuvered through their automated system trying to reach a human being while ignoring the message about their “unusually high call volume.” The human being gave me the phone number I just called and assured me they were the ones I needed to speak to. I called again and the phone rang continuously until the line went dead on me. I called USPS once more and got another human being who apologetically reaffirmed the previous human’s statement, but transferred me to her supervisor who accidentally? hung up on me. I spent about 30 seconds having a temper tantrum wherein I nearly threw my newly functioning Droid across the room and then called the post office once again. Someone picked up on the second ring and I nearly died from relief. He very politely listened to my dilemma and assured me that he would send the carrier back out to get my perishable packages.

Meanwhile, I have gotten the mail which included an item from Amazon that I accidentally ordered. I had intended to refuse the package as a means of returning it, but noticed the return address was not Amazon’s even though it was “fulfilled by Amazon.” So, since I’d already spent the better part of my morning with my cell phone pressed against my ear, I called Amazon. The CSR who came on the line wouldn’t even acknowledge my question until she gathered the required name, email, billing address, and order number. After which she finally let me ask about the return and responded by regurgitating Amazon’s return policy word for word. When I emphasized the fact that I just needed to know if I could refuse the package or if I needed a return label to send it directly to Amazon she told me she would send an email detailing how to do a return because clearly her verbal read-through wasn’t enough. I explained again that I am quite familiar with Amazon’s return policy and process, which is why I wanted to know what would happen to this package since the return address wasn’t Amazon’s. She said she would send me an email about returns. I asked to speak to someone else. She told me they would say the same thing and would only send me the email she was going to send. I told her that wasn’t an answer to my question and asked if she would kindly let me speak to someone else. She started to repeat the bit about the email and I cut her off by hanging up. And so I had to call back again and I got another CSR who I immediately apologized to because I was sure to cross the line into “irate customer on the phone” land. I had to repeat myself a few times to this CSR, too, but she did eventually answer my question by stating the item needed to be sent to Amazon not the address on the box. She even created a UPS call tag for my package.

Throughout all of this I am most surprised by Uschi, who showed a new level of concern for me. She followed me around the house as I paced, nudging me in the leg or arm now and then to remind me she was there. When I finally sat down on the sofa she promptly joined me and snuggled up against me. And when I was finally done with my hours of phone calls, she crawled into my lap and was shockingly gentle in her exuberance for attention. As cranky as everything had made me I have to say it was difficult not to thaw a bit from that level of love. It was certainly more attentive than I was the other day when we came home from grocery shopping and I didn’t realize she was still harnessed more than an hour later. She was a good sport about it, though.

In other news, I made more cupcakes yesterday. They were only a slight fiasco in comparison to my usual baking/decorating adventures. I ended up having to do the Tootsie Roll ears three different times. The first batch burned and I put the blame squarely on the microwave which was mysteriously set for an entire minute and thus the taffy globbed into a boiling inferno. The second batch ended up being the perfect size for pug ears. Except, of course, I was making chocolate labs. Also, the design instructions I was following clearly say to use dark chocolate frosting, which I thought was too dark but I’m not above being frugal and I had made dark chocolate frosting the other day as it’s the best to dye black since it requires the least amount of tinting added, which can make things taste funky. Black frosting is required for pretty much every cupcake I am slated to make lately. I only did the two in the middle because I found them unappealingly dark and the ears don’t match as nicely, so the rest are just a more milk chocolate brown a la chocolate buttercream. And now I am very nearly out of semisweet chocolate, which means further baking is on hold until that is rectified. Oh, and if you were wondering, they have orange tongues because apparently while making monsters, my brother also ate all my pink Starbursts.

Anyhoo, today Uschi has her Lyme booster. So, we’ll be taking some chocolate labs to share at the vet’s. If last year was anything to go by, I anticipate these will be very much enjoyed.