Saturday, October 5, 2013

The Blackcord Jumble

Recently I reached into the jumble of cords in a drawer and pulled out the very camera cord I wanted in a matter of seconds, and I realized: I might not own enough Devices. I might be falling behind. What to do? Should I run out and buy an iPad?

I asked my friends. What do you do with your iPad? What does it do that all my other shit doesn't do?

The answer was universal. Nothing. It doesn't do anything that your other shit doesn't do. It just does it splendider. It strokes instead of scratches. It coos instead of squawks. It brings you beer in a fine cold glass instead of a red plastic cup. You will love it.

Good enough for me! I tootled off to the Mac store and was much relieved to find it virtually empty of customers, with an eager trio of employees behind the front desk smiling at me as I came through the door. I know how these things go, and there's always some humiliation involved. Somebody is about to find out just how old and ignorant I am, and my chances of understanding anything are much better if my salesman isn't pressed for time. Also, if there are fewer people in the store, there are fewer witnesses to my decrepitude.

"May I help you with anything?"

"Probably," I said. "Apparently, I don't have enough Devices." I like to start out like this. It introduces me as a fairly funny person. At least, it does if the other person chuckles. If the other person does not chuckle, but merely stares at me, and fingers the bone in his ear, it introduces me as an odd and possibly idiotic person. If a comedian pratfalls in a forest but nobody is there to laugh, she is just another pitiable heap of humanity struggling in the duff.

"We have devices," the youngster said after a moment, trying. "What did you have in mind?"

In for a penny, in for a pound. "I was thinking one of those tabletty thingies," I said. I like to start out like this. It lets the salesman know that he has a lot of work to do, but that it might be amusing, if he would just relax already. And not keep staring, and fingering the bone in his ear.

We walked over to the iPad display. "What do you want it for?"

I have no idea. What does he mean by that? He sounds like someone who has just been asked if he would lend out a valuable personal tool, and would rather not.

"I don't know. I would like something portable to be connected to the Internet with, and maybe to be able to write on it. Like a word processor. I'd do a lot of that. Writing."

"You don't want this, then."

But I do! Because of its splenditude. I said, okay. I don't want to write on it. That's the last thing I want to do. I want to do all the other things. What are they, exactly?

Follows a tutorial at warp speed in which I am introduced to someone called Siri and various images slide across the screen and flip about like zoo monkeys. It looked splendid. Abandoning all pride, I begged him to talk slower. It's possible he did, but I couldn't tell. Well! This particular device is forgey, I learn. I don't know what this means. Maybe it forges ahead. That's probably good. And also, you can store a cloud in it. I don't know why you'd want to, but it sounds splendid. Oh! It's not that you can store a cloud in it. It's that you can back up into a cloud.

That's never as much fun as you think it's going to be. My mind instantly detoured into a recollection of being a little kid and saying something to my dad about how neat it would be to sit down on a cloud. And he told me we could probably go into a cloud the next time we went to the mountains. We drove up to the Blue Ridge and sure enough there was a cloud parked up ahead, right on the road, and I got all excited, and then we drove into it, and it was not fluffy at all. I decided to ignore the bit about the cloud. The salesman was still going on about something and I still had the expression on my face appropriate to a person who is paying attention, and I think I was getting away with it. It seemed important to me to appear to be thinking thoughtful thoughts and taking in this high-speed information, but sooner or later the jig was going to have to be up, so I decided to just buy the damn thing and hope it would teach me how to use itself later.

"Uh-huh, uh-huh," I said, "so how much is this thing going to cost?"

Well. It depends. It depends on how many jeebies you want in it. Did I plan to watch a lot of movies on it? Did I plan to jam all the music I'd ever heard in my whole life into it? Not really. Again, I am not really sure what is going to happen between me and my new Device. Basically, we were going on a blind date.

"Well, you could probably do just fine with a couple of jeebies," he concludes. I thought so too. I probably wouldn't even be comfortable with a whole lot of jeebies. And I went with the little cute tabletty thing instead of the bigger one, because I am a small person. We were all set to go settle up, and then he offered to show me a selection of hats for it. I got a snap-on number. And took my new Device home, and set it on the counter, hoping it would be forgey enough to strike up a conversation.

70 comments:

  1. You didn't get a mini? You're small enough, Murr. Well, I hope you like it. I don't use my iPad nearly as much as I did before I got my iPhone. But I still love it and wish I had a mini with lots of jeebies. :-)

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    1. Huh. Is this one a mini? It was the smaller one. About 5x7? I just went back to the store and they showed me how to embiggen the print. I was getting tired of peering over my glasses LIKE AN OLD LADY.

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  2. Congratulations! I just love my used-to-be iPhone II, which doesn't have a connection, so I can't use it as a phone or internet device. I CAN use it for note taking, list keeping, calender, alarm, camera, etc. I would be worried about heebies, I mean jeebies for sure. BUT on a positive note, I don't have to pay any fees to use it, just charge it every now and then.

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    1. I wonder what we're all going to do when we've pulled all the battery components out of the planet.

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  3. Oh, yes. Everyone is doing it. My d-i-l said "You've got to have one." "For what?" "It does splendiforous things!" Right.

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    1. I actually bought mine just before going on a vacation and it was plenty helpful then, but I don't really use it all that much so far. It is dang cute, though.

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  4. Just hope nothing goes wrong with it that you need help with. I'm still trying to straighten out the problems caused by tech support while fixing the problems they previously caused while fixing a problem with my cell phone that I can't hardly remember at this point.

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    1. Hey, if you can't remember, they must've fixed it, right? I'm fixing to bring my camera and desktop computer into the Mac store to see if they can squeeze video out of one and onto the other.

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  5. This sounds like the smart phone my husband got for me...now I-we pay $150.00 a month for crap! I make less than three calls a month on it. When in the car I can Facebook...really, what a waste. I am thinking of getting a Kindle white...but It needs to word process as well. Maybe you should come along.

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    1. I have a dumb Kindle that I love (although I wish I'd gotten a Nook so as not to enrich amazon further), and all I can do is read on it. That's straightforward enough for me. Yeah, the word processing thing...you could do that on a tablet, but the problem is you can't see enough of the page at once to get a sense of what needs shifting around. I do make notes sometimes if I'm dreaming up an essay but I don't write on the tablet per se.

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    2. I've got a Nook Color that has Internet access and (I'm told) I can watch movies on it if I want to pay up the Yin Yang and can figure that out. Mostly, I just read on it and check e-mail. But an iPad Mini sounds like great fun. Congrats, Murr. You are braver than I am. Have fun!

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    3. I really probably should have someone walk me through all the bells and whistles. So far I can't say as how I've done much with it. Tunes? Movies? Clouds?

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  6. I scorned iPads for a while before I succumbed to the siren call, and now it is my favorite possession and I am obsessed with it. Welcome to the cult. The Kool-Aid is over there on the counter by the fridge, if you need topping up.

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    1. Still hanging out on the edges of the cult. I did get a star map app right away. I keep forgetting I have it.

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  7. Love your comedian in the forest reference -

    I admire your determination to move into the the twenty-first century forgey techno society. Now you will have to learn to use the work LIKE at least three times in each sentence.

    I still haven't mastered my seven year old computer and can't see moving on to something else that I don't understand. I have a cell phone that I talk on about twelve minutes a year - I keep it just in case of an emergency when I am on the motorcycle or in the car. I know - I am fucking old - but I don't see any need to be 'connected' 24/7.

    OK, you can't write on it, but can you access porn on that tabletty?
    the Ol'Buzzard
    the Ol'Buzzard

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    1. I think so. I accidentally tripped on something when I innocently looked up images of "blue boobies" for an art project.

      I like, like, like you!

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  8. Murr, we could be twins when it comes to buying anything in a store manned by people younger than my youngest child. It seems they speak an entirely different form of English than I do. I am usually very up front about it - I'll say "I'm old and not tech savvy, so try to have some patience and speak slowly".
    I'm living in dread anyway - my 5 year old* computer needs updating and I'm hoping my friend's son can do this for me (it ended badly when I tried to connect a new printer to this computer - 2 tries got it up and running and it usually works). My husband also mentioned "smart phone" and I nearly fell out the car window. This from a man who cannot figure out how a DVR works - nor how to get a message off the phone. My daughter says she will help me learn it when the time comes, but I'm sure that will be an entirely different sort of humiliation. Help! (*5 years of computer age must be sort of like "in dog years" which would make it about a 35-year old computer, give or take an upgrade or two).

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    1. Don't get me going about printers. Mine is possessed. It is truly weird and frightening. You can punch "print" all you want and it will snort and wobble and then shut down and THEN three hours later spit out a blank page when you've forgotten all about it. Then you hit "print" again and sometime in the middle of the night it will shoot out four copies.

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    2. I love my printer, it does exactly what I want it to as long as I keep up the ink supply.

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    3. Don't even get me going on the ink supply.

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  9. You never fail to make me laugh! In my next life, I want to be the guy who invents something that everybody MUST have, whether they know what it is or not.

    P.S. I'm a geek - I actually understand all the incomprehensible babble - but I still don't have a tablet. I'm not sure whether that makes me a rugged individualist or just a Luddite.

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    1. I quit reading after "I actually understand" and now I want you to live next door to me, on retainer.

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    2. see: "thneed" --- Dr. Seuss, The Lorax

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    3. Oh, I had to look it up. Can you believe my dad had a thing against Dr. Seuss and I only saw those books at my friends' houses?

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  10. This post deserves a prize for the title alone. Not to mention the whole comedian-in-a-forest thing...

    I've just inherited an IPad from my dad, who never did figure out how to use it. Maybe you and I can play Words With Friends together. It's a Scrabble knock-off, but it is way better than playing Scrabble in real life, because there is no pressure to come up with your next move. You can take a week, if you want to. Also? You don't have to look anything up - the game lets you know whether or not your move is a real word.

    In fact, while cleaning out my dad's house last week, I happened on the old Scrabble game and happily dumped it in the trash. It was too 20th century for me.

    My Words With Friends username is suburbancorrespondent, by the way.

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    1. I could try. I do play Lexulous with a few people. I don't know how different it is; uses eight tiles. I think it was the original new game (called Scrabbulous) and they had to rename it when the Scrabble people objected.

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  11. I lust after the iPad, but I have a small budget so I have a Kindle Fire HD instead. It doesn't do some of the nifty things an iPad does (the camera only takes pictures of me, for example, but at least they're blurry and grainy), but it is about a third the price. Also, mine isn't forgey, or even threegey, which means I have to connect to a wireless network to get internet access. That's okay, though, since I have enough books and games on it to keep me entertained when I'm out of range.

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    1. "...but at least they're blurry and grainy..." ar ar ar

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  12. Reading this on my iPad. Don't know how I ever got along without one. I have a shiny new macBook that I rarely use. I'm considering also buying a mini because it would fit better in my purse. A girl can't have too many devices...especially when they all use the same cord!

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    1. Wow, I fit on your iPad? Cool. I just discovered the Reader feature. Very helpful. I didn't discover it--the nice man in the picture showed me. He also told me I have the old iPad. It's two months old.

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    1. Oh man, me too. I used to be insanely good at that. I could draw people on it that you'd even recognize.

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  14. I have heebies and jeebies just trying to understand what the bejeezlehoop you and your commenters are wittering about.
    I need a tablet... (one Prozac should do...)

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  15. While we watch television in the evening our conversations used to go like this: "Who is that actress?? "Oh, you know, she used to be the sister in that one show " "No, I think she was the lawyer...." Now I look them up on IMDB, right there while I'm watching. That's just one of the many reasons I love my iPad.

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    1. Do you remember what it was like not knowing everything? It was kind of nice, wasn't it?

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  16. I am with dinahmow. Heebies and jeebies and tablet less. Or at least the sort of tablet that you can purportedly do things with. Other than swallow them.

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    1. Like, come down off the mountain with them?

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  17. Whenever I "need" a new device, I order it online. That's so I won't have to go in a store and have that blank look automatically settle itself on my face. Well, I did go in a store once recently -- to buy an iPad mini as a gift for my husband. Somehow I didn't feel quite as ignorant since the mini wasn't for me. He cusses it every day but seems to use it an awful lot.

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    1. I am eternally hopeful. I keep thinking I'm really going to understand it this time. I keep thinking the human is going to give me a human angle. Every so often, he or she does.

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  18. I'm in the corner with dinahmow and Elephant's Child.

    Have you heard about toddlers trying to "swipe" pictures in books and magazines because they are so used to using their parents' smart phones?

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    1. Oh dear. I do know that you can't tell a kid that a particular bird is in the tree at two o'clock because they can't figure out why you know when it's going to be there.

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  19. I've always loved everything Mac but I was gifted with a Kobo Arc and I like it just fine. But I wouldn't turn an iPad down for all the clouds in China.

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    1. I had this vision of many clouds in China and when you sat down on them, they'd break.

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  20. And...if you don't like it...you can always take it back. That's what I did. I hate typing on glass. Sounds like a fun outing.

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    1. Yeah, typing on glass is particularly unsatisfying for those of us who grew up typing on little round keys with raised edges. Those felt GOOD.

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  21. By the way, is it just me, or does that young man helping you at the counter look like a young Abe Lincoln?

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    1. I'm thinking it's just you, jenny o.

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    2. Ah, yer all blind, I tell ya. Look again!

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    3. Oh okay. I met him, and he didn't have quite that amount of gravitas. Plus, dimples. Nice profile.

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    4. I think you're right, Jennio!! (Although I do have a disorder involving facial recognition. But that nose!)

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  22. I can also reach into my drawer of black cords and instantly pull out the one I want. Yet I have absolutely NO desire to add yet more devices to my life. I have a mobile phone, a laptop, a third-hand hand-me-down I pod with dock for music and video, a smaller I pod with tiny satellite speakers for the bedroom, an even smaller I pod that goes out with me and my camera. (We won't mention my other camera and the dvd player). I feel absolutely no need for an I phone or I pad or anything else of that nature.
    Remember....no wait, that's a blog post on its own....I'll go home and write it up.

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    1. Well shit! You HAVE five thousand devices!

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  23. Ooops, forgot about my kindle. I do love my kindle. I have enough books stored on there to see me to my grave.

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  24. And so you become a MacMinion. You can buy a program to teach it to speak Word instead of the Mac word processing program. Word is better for real writers.Which you really are!

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    1. I've been macked out since 2009. And I did install Word on my iMac desktop. I'm not sure it was the right thing to do, but at least I was familiar with it. Of course, it's the only thing that ever needs updating on this thing...

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  25. I loved my iPad original model until the Retina version came out and I could see that it was The Ultimate Way and my wife suddenly wanted my old iPad so I got the Retina version and I use it aLL the time eXcept now I have a 27 inch touchscreen running Win 8 at work to do commercial art work with CorelDRAW and a Cintiq 13HD drawing tablet, which comes in reaLLy handy when I am helping my son with his homework. The iPad may sound eXpensive initiaLLy but the hourly cost of ownership and portability allows you to conveniently take almost everywhere. And my wife forced me to have her iPhone which is like icing on the cake. I reaLLy should replace the pink protective case, people are starting to question my manly-ness.

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    1. You could replace the pink case or just walk around in a red flannel shirt and Speedo.

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    2. Hahaha - or just a Speedo. No, wait, it is October and there is four feet of snow in the Black Hills, so Speedo and a Sweater.

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    3. Dude. Four feet of snow? You can still bare your midriff.

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  26. Hey Murr! I like gadgets, being male, reasonably well-off and a bit of a tool. I have thus far resisted Apple on the grounds of being a belligerent, anti-authority, underdog-loving tool. I suspect I might like it if I gave it a chance. Even without the cloud thing. Can you really not sit on them? How disappointing. Roth x

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  27. Does being a "tool" mean something different in Ingland? Incidentally, I lived in London for a year and I'm pretty sure some of those clouds were sittable.

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  28. The nearest Mac store is 120 miles away and cell phones don't work here. My ignorance could make your ignorance look like Einstein.

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    1. You're in heaven, aren't you? I knew it.

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  29. After we purchase a new device, is there any chance the geek stores offer a home visit to tell people what black cords can be discarded from our multiple other purchases?

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    1. I have a drawer full of odd cables and old discs. Shoot, I can't even get rid of remote controls even if I haven't used it for years and don't remember what it's for.

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  30. When we took a two day trip last week, my gallon sized Glad Bag was full of black cords that all looked alike until I would spend an hour untangling one just to find that the "thingie" on the end was the wrong shape/size/width. And NOW I'm supposed to be ashamed that I courageously purchased a KINDLE (because I heard that name mentioned a lot) only to find out the iPad is gloriouser. How did I know WHAT I wanted it for when I wasn't sure what it did in the first place!

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    1. Oh actually that's one of the things I like about my Kindle, which is the dumb kind, just the way I wanted it: it has a white cord. Unfortunately, so does my new iPad, but at least there are only two cords to choose from.

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  31. I have a Mac, and iPad mini and an iPhone. I loves them all and I especially loves the geniuses at Apple. I signed on for two years of access to them, and they know EVERYTHING!!! I still don't, but I know all I need to know. But I have a program for downloading patterns for knitting that turns charts into formats that the program can keep track of rows, etc., with me, and I love it. But the geniuses know nothing of this app, so I have to figure it out on my own, with the help of Ravelry, and it is slow going.
    I cannot type much on the small, fake keyboard on the mini though. I do hate that.

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