Sunday, March 23, 2008

We Are Experiencing Technical Complexities

Two things.
One: when I got my current iPod as a gift from Tigger, I thought they were excessively large and I would never need the space for everything.

Fast forward two plus years, and my 30 gig iPod (or in this case the one I got Tigger for her Birthday) has blown a seam trying to just keep up with all the music we've been adding to iTunes for the purpose of getting rid of our brick and mortar CDs.

The day has arrived, and we now have too much stuff to put on the pods.  I didn't think it would come to this and it has, and suddenly with all the photos I shoot (Nikon D70, gigs at a time after a trip get ripped to the iPhoto and stored, always nice to have those along for showing people our waterfalls/puppy/selves) I'm looking at the 160 GB iPod and thinking "Yeah, that might hold us for a while."

We've gotten completely accustomed to such mammoth amounts of data being flung around, it's kind of hard to really grip, mentally.

My college Mac held (I think) 80 MB on the hard drive, and it was the uprated model, yet still black and white.  I'm not even that old, at least as far as I'm concerned.  That is one tenth of a CD-R.  Don't even get me started on how much of a CF card it is, or how much of a DVD-R or whatever.

Second point: I bought a "terrestrial" phone for the first time in about ten years today.  We both have cell phones ("Gee REALLY???"  "Yes, really, along with the rest of the developed and developing world, we do.  Can the sarcasm.") so it has never really been necessary, but suddenly we have cable service that was practically doing backflips to get us to agree to have a phone line through the modem, and it would be LESS than just getting cable and internet, so FINE.  We did it.  Well there's that, and there's the fact that our turn of the century electrical system basically gave my cell phone a surge-induced ice-pick lobotomy, causing it to lose all my contacts, forget all my text messages, and stop making or receiving calls, and I need to be reachable on a day off of work tomorrow... 

The good news, in our image infatuated society is: don't worry, my cell still turns on very nicely, and looks perfectly fine.  It just won't do anything, and its memory is putting it in the category of a hobo found at a Phoenix strip mall not knowing its own name and gibbering about un-nameable awfulness while scratching its face incessantly.

So I went ahead and went to get a phone to plug in to our cable modem, since we're paying for it anyway.

The first cordless I brought home, with an answering machine attached  (which makes me think that maybe we'll do up a novelty type message, for old times sake... possibly including Gojira making some contribution, 'cause why not, eh? (which in turn makes me lament the end of the attempted amusing outgoing message, which was oddly killed by the cell phone, perhaps because the culture was all about phones for "business" people just didn't feel like impersonating Peter Lorre or whatever, go figure, right?)) it didn't work, at least in terms of charging.

Want to apologize for the nested parentheses.  I learned German growing up, so I am immune to any confusion due to endless subclauses, and I think in those terms.  You hypothetical readers will just have to get accustomed, or just cease to exist in my fertile imagination, which is where I think you reside anyhow... fame and fortune are around the corner!


It wouldn't charge the handset, and I had to try and pack it up and return it to the local store where I bought it.  It sucked.  Hard.  Trying to get that thing back in the box was like trying to put an octopus to bed, to take a phrase from addiction counseling... there were about 600 plastic baggies, forty-five twist-ties, and sixty-seven folded pieces of cardboard to get this thing packed the hell up.

I went back, with a slightly misformed and bulging box of phones (it had the now common two handsets, with a spare charging base to keep at the other end of your cavernous suburban estate, though you can get them with up to FOUR handsets.)  Ended up getting another phone, from Panasonic, which had one handset only, but allows for additional handsets when we hit the lottery (if we ever bought tickets) and buy our hideous mafia palace on Long Island.
I want to tell you how much I love the good folks at Panasonic, and I'll tell you why:

First off, here's the top of the box.  You'll note that it's hazardous chemical free in production.  The first phone was from another company, and had cadmium batteries.  This one, has NiMH batteries, and even better... they are normal AAAs, so you can replace them when they start losing the plot.  I could make an iPod related comment here, but I'm a nice guy (bear with me... play along, alright?) so I won't do that.  Regular AA NiMH batteries.  How easy was that, industry???

And now, the "piece de resistance", this is what you see right away when you open the box, on the flap right below the lid:

Look carefully.

That there is a diagram showing you how to re-pack the box. That's right, folks. Someone wants to prepare us for the possibility that we have to put the jigsaw puzzle of death back together and return the product!

If you have any friends who are designers, I want you to print out this photo, and glue it onto the bottom of a frying pan. Wrap your friend in a blanket featuring images of Fallingwater, Guggenhem Bilbao, and anything by Alvar Aalto, and hit them in the face with said pan until they understand how simple and liberating good design actually can be for all of us.

Have a great day, and a wonderful tomorrow, folks.

Sidenote: the new phone works, too.  Which is wonderfully ironic given that returning it would have been so much easier than the other one...

Telemarketers, here I come!

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