If you read this blog at all (or even glance at the photos) you will notice a recurring theme of discomfort with technology. This issue has resurfaced yet again, when I finally relented and got an iPhone.
You’ll recall that I fervently opposed the Apple device due to its touch screen keyboard. Well, the contraption I went with instead, the Motorola XPRT with it’s mini QWERTY only punished me for my loyalty to an old school keypad.
I developed a nasty case of tendonitis/texting thumb that required several trips to a hand specialist and eventually a cortisone shot. After a brief period of temporary relief, the pain returned (and continues to plague me) with a vengeance. I realized I could no longer employ the two-thumb typing method on those little buttons I so adamantly held onto.
So, after almost two more months of holding out for my Sprint upgrade to come due, finally, on March 1, I made an appointment to swap up. I still wasn’t completely sold on the iPhone going in. Even though I use a MacBook Pro for my computer, I wasn’t convinced that streamlining and completely utilizing the intangible iCloud was for me.
I was totally Google-based for my email, contacts and calendar, making a Droid a realistic, convenient option. So, I pitted the iPhone against the Samsung Galaxy.
It took me all of three minutes in the Sprint Store to declare, "I want the iPhone!" so loud that children in the vicinity giggled, assuming Bart Simpson had made a surprise visit to have his phone serviced. (That one may go over your head unless you’ve heard me speak, or worse, yell). The kicker?
I opened the iPhone settings menu and saw the "Gmail" option beautifully displayed to me. It was as if the phone was telling me to purchase it. "See, we’ve made this easy for you. Touch the Gmail button and you will have your Gmail."
"Fantastic," I thought. "I can just input my password and still use all my old Google apps!" Brand new iPhone, seamless transition – just what I wanted! I chose the cleanly modern white model of the iPhone 5 to be my index finger’s new companion. I picked a glittering silver case that recalled KISS’ "Spaceman." (My former phone was flanked by a red case with silver stars – that I called the "Starchild," so I figured I would stay with my KISS theme.)
We transferred my contacts and BOOM – I was all Apple - consistent for the iCloud. "I’m a Mac" echoed in my head.
Until I got home and tried to send an email.
What? I could only send email from one of the four accounts I filtered through the master Gmail account. What happened to that great Gmail feature where I could choose the alias I wanted to send from? Ughh. What confusion this could cause sending emails from my phone – as that master Gmail account moniker is my maiden name!
My heart sank as I began to realize that the iPhone was not as Google friendly as that lovely "Gmail" icon in the "settings" menu lured me to think. In fact, I learned these two brands don’t even shake hands.
A momentary wave of panic washed over me. A feeling of not being in control and drowning in digital disorganization temporarily made me gasp for air. I was being inconvenienced by my e-life (or should I say, iLife), but worse, I was letting it cause me anxiety. I took a deep breath and became determined not to let this nuisance get the best of me.
I hankered down and bolstered my drive to continue this switch over. New contraptions always have a learning curve and I told myself that this was only part of that transition period. I logged onto my MacBook Pro and tried to resolve the situation. I decided to take this as an opportunity to clean out my email accounts and try to simplify.
I no longer really used the Gmail account – except to filter others, so why have it? I removed all forwards and focused on my "me.com" account. I had to log into the ominous "iCloud" since MobileMe has long since been retired. Something intimidated me about using the iMail client on my computer, so I theorized that I would use iCloud like I used Google’s Gmail – as an online app.
I impressed myself by ferrying over the contacts from my Gmail to the iCloud. This of course, was not as simple as choosing "import contacts." No, Google and Mac are not affable – so, why make it easy? But, a quick "Google" of how to do this led the way. (You can’t "iCloud" search yet - to my knowledge.)
As for my calendar, well, that really sucked, as the only way to import Google Calendar contents to iCalendar contents is to manually do it. So I grudgingly did it.
Then, I ran into some major hiccups. For instance, the iCloud mail I was using wasn’t giving me the features that Gmail had gotten me so used to. Obvious things like seeing an email conversation stacked in threads, instead of displayed as separate emails in the inbox without being able to see my own reply.
I felt overwhelmed by the sheer volume this was creating. The e-motional unraveling commenced, so my husband forced me to make an appointment to get some education at the Apple Store.
(Note: the Apple Store freaks me out – hence the force used by Chuck to get me to go. No offense to anyone who works there – you are all so helpful and I always
end up sending a letter to customer service about how wonderful you all are, but I feel like I am somehow transported to Planet Apple when I walk in. Like, literal time and space travel occurs. It’s all those robin blue shirts, thick-rimmed black glasses and colorful tattoos.
It looks like everyone is related and part of this really hip Genius gene pool. Inbreeding at its smartest. It’s like by setting foot in this futuristic, plastic-coated, Mac universe where I’m obliged to only use these products. It’s a monopolized "surreality" that creeps me out – a bit.)
I bravely waltzed in and told my Genius, "I used to be a Google. And now – I’m a Mac. Help!" (Really – I said that.) I was told that I would have to upgrade my operating system to Mountain Lion. Of course. You can’t just pay $199 for a new phone, $40 for a new case and $20 for a screen protector.
No. You have to now shell out even more so your old stuff works with your new stuff. I felt my blood boil. The veins popped out in my neck. My face flushed a fiery crimson as I babbled mostly to myself, but unfortunately the jabber also made its way public.
"I know this is not your fault, Genius - you don’t make these rules - but this is making me feel sick. I feel so taken advantage of by this Apple monster that has been created! It’s like I’m engaging in the perpetuation of this monopoly! I feel forced into buying your products!"
Which, of course, is not true. I chose out of free will and probably a little peer pressure to migrate to the land of iPhones. I reeled myself back in from another virtual unraveling. I apologized to Genius. He told me he understood completely. Reassured to keep moving forward, I acknowledged that I had gone this far into the Apple abyss, so I would continue my venture into the place everyone else already is.
I went home and upgraded to Mountain Lion. That is when I found out that the Apple ID I use on Itunes is different from the MobileMe ID I use to get into the iCloud. This can never be changed or merged. These will always be separate accounts. Really? Apple can figure out how to make the coolest male/female cord charger, but it can’t merge two accounts that belong to the same person? My annoyance was reignited.
But, then something awesome happened. Mountain Lion kicked in and all of a sudden my devices were completely synched. What I input on my computer, magically, simultaneously appeared on my phone. That elusive iCloud was working its magic. I furiously tested the technology.
I input events on iCalendar on my laptop and poof – they were on my iPhone! Make a "Note" on the iPhone – BAM! It’s on the MacBook Pro. Ahhh, the iCloud in action. However eerie and indefinable, so f***ing cool.
I now revel in the one finger tapping on my virtual keyboard. The rhythmic clicking is a comforting reminder of the ordeal I survived during my technological transition. So, now and forever – or at least until the next big thing – I’m (exclusively) a Mac.
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