Keenen and I are working Comic Con, and look what happens to be in our booth…the tallest iPhone ever!!!
So of course, we have to camp out:
Today was the anniversary of Steve Jobs’ death. The previous night was just a normal night of sleeping on on Fifth Avenue in bright orange sleeping bags, and that morning just like any other morning in which you are woken up by a guy in a Mercedes trying to give you nearly $1000 in cash, thinking you are homeless. This actually happened.
Later that day, I remember sitting there on the ledge in front of the Apple Store, tapping away at my keyboard, when I got a text from Keenen…the text with the news that shocked and saddened the tech community and the world, the news that just one day after the announcement of the iPhone 4S, Steve Jobs had lost his long battle with pancreatic cancer. Within minutes, we were surrounded by media, domestic and international, as well as people from all walks of life who were coming to pay their respects and add to the memorial wall that had begun to form. From that day, our campout became something more than just a couple of “vapid trust fund babies” “pretending to be homeless” and “wasting time that could be spent doing something useful.” Of course, plenty of people still said those things, but aside from that, people attached meaning to our experience…we were waiting for the last product Steve Jobs has been around to announce. One thing I noticed is how some reporters wanted to assign connection with Steve Jobs. I was asked questions about how I felt about him as a human being, whether I felt close to him, and how I was personally affected by his death. This was my response, in blog form:
“Cancer is, pardon my French, a real bitch. It is a terrible, devastating thing to go through for the sufferer, not to mention their family and friends. This is true whether you are Steve Jobs or Jane Doe. Rich, poor, male, female, old, young, gay, straight, famous, unknown…it doesn’t discriminate. Everyone feels pain. One reporter asked me if I think Steve Jobs was an irreplaceable human being. I answered that yes, EVERY person is an irreplaceable human being. One person is not superior to another. We place people on pedestals and create the illusion that they are immortal, and although i did not personally know him, it pains me to think he had to suffer so much. He was as mortal as anyone. I am truly sad for the loss to society, but even more sad for his family and those who were close to him, though I am happy he had such an incredible support system. Steve Jobs will not be forgotten, and I am sure his legacy will carry on. RIP.” (Oh, What a Night)
I could say something cliche like, “It seems like only yesterday”…except it doesn’t. It’s been a long year, with high highs and low lows, including some of the most painful months of my life. The deaths of my baby cousin, a former classmate, and my grandfather, all in quick succession, combined with the emotional aftermath and other major obstacles (both related and unrelated to those deaths), threw me into a state of shock for awhile. It made the 3 stolen iPhones and damaged Macbook Pro look like nothing. I remember thinking I didn’t even care any more…I would give everything I had to make it all go away and fix my family, especially to bring Sadie back. She was only 7 weeks old and hadn’t even had a chance to live. It may have been the first time in my life I felt like my heart was actually shattered. It hurt to be awake, it hurt to breathe, and even typing this makes my eyes water and my chest tighten. It took a fair amount of time before I could start participating in life again.
This is what happens when someone close to you is suddenly taken away. I’m sure Steve Jobs left many friends and family, as well as those who looked up to him as a hero, with similar feelings of loss. The fact that he was one of the most influencial people in the history of technology does not make him or those around him any less human. Death SUCKS, there’s no way around it, and everyone deals with it in different ways. But after the initial mourning comes the realization that you are still alive and had better take advantage of that fact. Life doesn’t wait around while you think about doing the things you want to do. I know it’s a cliche, but I guess any time you are talking about ways to cope with any sort of obstacle, at least a few cheesy quotes or cliches are going to come into play…after all, thing don’t reach cliche status for no reason. Life can be amazing, and if anything is to be learned from Steve Jobs, it’s to go after what you want, don’t be afraid of what other people think, and make the most out of the life you have.
There is nothing more satisfying than finding the 6-letter word in a game of Text Twist (or other similar game). I remember when I would play that on AOL Games when my family first got the internet. Hey, in 1995 what was there to do for a 10 year old who had the internet before her friends? It was a dial-up service that you paid for by the minute and kicked you off when the phone rang. This meant you could be just about to win whatever game you were playing when your little sister’s friend would call just to chat about the Backstreet Boys or something, and you’d have to resist the urge to rip the phone off the wall while politely saying, “I’m sorry, she’s not home” and simultaneously mouthing “wrong number” to your little sister who is waiting expectantly on the stairs. All hypothetical, of course.
Where was I even going with this? Oh yeah, text twist! So basically, the first thing I ever became addicted to on the Internet was this amazing game, in which they would provide you with 6 letters and a time limit in which to make as many words out of these 6 letters as you could. There would always be at least one word that used all the letters, and if you found this word, you were guaranteed to move on to the next level.
Anyone who knows me knows I have a slightly addictive personality. And those same people know that when I say “slightly addictive” I mean I can get addicted to pretty much anything. So when I started playing Text Twist, I would actually go to sleep at night thinking up different six-letter combinations and trying to find as many words within that combination as possible. And yes, I also have sleep issues. I’m also just kind of weird. Doesn’t change the fact that Test Twist is awesome. Now off to play “Text Twirl” (though is is not, by far, my favorite version of the game).
Between last year’s campout (18 days) and this one (8 days), we have had numerous reactions to the length of time we are willing to wait in line. Some of the more popular reactions are:
“Wow, good for you! I couldn’t do it.”
“This is so stupid.”
“That’s awesome! I wish I could join.”
“That is ridiculous and you need to get a life.”
“Apple sheeple, bow to the church of Apple.”
“You must have a lot of time on your hands.”
“Do you not have jobs?”
“You should have just preordered!”
Some would just take photos…and then quickly try to hide the camera and pretend they weren’t when they saw us looking. Smooth move, ex-lax.
But the most common word we hear is simply: CRAZY. “You guys are crazy.”
To them I say, maybe we are, but that’s not always a bad thing! I think we have been called crazy in every language, including sign language, and looking back I wish I’d put a quarter in a jar every time I heard that…I could buy an extra iPhone! 64 gigs with Apple Care Plus and accessories! My favorite still has to be the person who called us “nuttier than squirrel poop” last year on MacRumors forums. And as i responded before, at least we don’t go around inspecting squirrel poop.
But is waiting in a line really quite as crazy as people seem to think? I think I can think of a few things that are even crazier, and here is a very small sampling. Feel free to disagree.
TEN THINGS I FIND CRAZIER THAN WAITING A WEEK OR MORE IN LINE FOR AN iPHONE:
Paying $100,000 for an iPhone case is not just crazy, but batshit nuts. This case had better double as a teleportation device, time machine, private jet, and robotic maid that does my laundry and makes my coffee. Hazelnut. With 2 Sweet N Lows and 2 Equals. And yes, I am aware that they are totally artificial and nasty. Deliciously nasty.
2) THROWING YOUR TRASH ON THE GROUND
I never understood how anyone could just throw the garbage on the ground when there are garbage cans all over. There is no excuse whatsoever for littering, and I have no patience for it when I see it. How can people be so disrespectful to the planet we all live on? It’s just an assholian thing to do…and yes, I really wanted an excuse to use the word assholian. One day I saw a guy go down an escalator, walk out the door and around the corner, just to throw throw an empty cigarette pack on the ground (five feet away from a trash can), then turn around and walk away. I feel myself getting irritated, so before turning into the Hulk, I should also mention that I recently saw another guy actually stop and turn around when he tried to throw his garbage in the trash can and missed. His friend said, “Hey it wouldn’t be the first time someone has left trash on the ground in NYC”, but he replied that he didn’t care, and went back to pick it up and throw it away. Hulk transformation intercepted by awesomeness.
3) HERE COMES HONEY BOOBOO
Why is this even a thing? It’s not even the content, necessarily, but the fact that TLC is taking a child and telling the world to laugh at her. Most kids are a little kooky, some more than others, but setting a kid up to be the butt of jokes (face it, she will probably still be trying to live this down when she is 45 and a nuclear physicist) for the entertainment of the percentage of the population that prefers reality tv to actual reality is kind of sick, if you think about it.
4) THE HONEY BADGER
Honey badger don’t care, it’s pretty badass. It’s just crazy.
5) COMPLAINING ABOUT THE GOVERNMENT, AND THEN NOT VOTING
Seriously, if you live in this country and are eligible to use the right that gives you even a tiny say in the outcome of an election, but refrain from actually voting, then I don’t want to hear you whining about the state of our country. It doesn’t matter which side you are on, vote if you can…and once you do that, you can bitch all you want.
6) MIDDLE-AGED MEN MAKING WOMEN’S HEALTH DECISIONS
Recently, it seems middle age to elderly male politicians have been trying to take control of women’s health issues, including wanting to ban or limit access to birth control, and expecting it to have positive results. Well, there will be plenty of positive results, in the form of plus signs on the end of the little sticks that will suddenly be sold out from all the local drug stores. Hey, I’m voting, therefore I can bitch.
But, since we have been labeled “early adopters” based on camping out for products before release, I NEED to ask…who wants to camp out for these? G.O.B. Tampons!
8) THE FACT THAT THIS GUY DOESN’T HAVE MILLIONS OF VIEWS
This is brilliant, the best science lesson ever. How does he not have more views?
9) PASSING COMPLETELY UNNECESSARY JUDGEMENT.
Seriously, what is with the constant judgement? I’m not talking about us. I am extremely hard to offend, so when we get flamed online for doing something like this, I am more likely to laugh about it than get all pissy. Fair is fair…when you do something like this, you set yourself up for negative comments. It’s all good, I can dish it and I can take it.
I’m talking about actual prejudice, which apparently still exists. o_O If you can put a person down based on race, class, gender, sexuality, or appearance, then your opinion on anything “crazy” someone else does is kind of negated, because THAT is crazier than almost anything I can think of.
10) NOT DOING ANYTHING CRAZY, EVER.
You are going to sit there and complain that you are bored? I see it all the time, and I just don’t understand. If you live somewhere like New York, how can you be bored? It’s not even possible. But no matter where you live, you can always do SOMETHING. One particular example: people tell me on a regular basis, “I wish I could move to New York!” I always tell them they CAN. They usually quote money as the prohibitive factor, and say once they save enough they will move. I’ll tell you, if you wait to move to NYC until you have enough money, you’ll never get there, because nobody has enough money to move to NYC. What I did was decide to make it work in spite of money issues, hopped a bus, and relied on Craigslist for a long time…and I didn’t even have to use the adult section, imagine that!!! I’ve been through a lot of crap in my life, but at the risk of sounding like a cliche, it made me stronger. I eventually realized that life doesn’t wait for you or anyone. The day I decided to have no regrets and not let other people’s opinions dictate my owns thoughts and actions was one of the most freeing of my life, and as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone, sometimes doing something a little (or a lot) crazy is the best way to embrace life.
One might say I drank the Apple kool-aid, the Apple juice, or whatever sugary beverage the cults are serving up these days. I don’t think so. I don’t tend to just throw my money around, and I like to know and explore the options. I have a Kindle Fire, not an iPad, and in between the iPhone 4 and 4S, I switched to Android for several months. I’ve come to realize that they are both good. Different things work for different people, and Apple products just usually work better for me. This iPhone is no exception…I think I’m in love. See? Siri and I are already having lover’s spats:
So anyway, after the campout, people told me I should sleep all weekend, but what’s the fun in that? I spent the whole next day volunteering with AFS, the student exchange program I went through to spend my junior year of high school abroad. Venezuela 2001-2002 FTW!!! I have been wanting to work with AFS for years, so when I heard they were looking for volunteers a couple months ago, I got right on the application process, and was approved soon after.
It just so happened that they had a field trip the day after launch day, so once I realized I wasn’t quite as delirious as I was last year (probably having to do with the 10 day difference lol…not to mention last year’s insane weather, the possible concussion, etc…), I told them I could help chaperone if they needed. SO glad I did! What a great group! Not all the students in the committee could join, so there were only 5 volunteers and 4 students, plus one student’s host mother and sisters. It was quite the international group: students from Switzerland, Thailand, India, and Spain, and a volunteer who moved from Russia just a year ago.
We went to the African Burial Ground Memorial downtown, which was actually really interesting. Funny how much is left out on certain topics in US History textbooks. Then we hopped the water taxi at the South Street Seaport, and headed into Red Hook, Brooklyn to check out the South American food trucks at Red Hook park and explore a bit. Being reconnected with the organization that facilitated one of the best years of my life feels amazing!
As far as the phone, it lasted all day. I met them at noon, and got home around 11 pm (since I accompanied one boy back to his host family in Long Island). Granted, I had it on the lowest brightness most of the time, didn’t take it out to play games on the train, and still cut it close. I did, however, use it as my camera all day long, and must say the camera quality is not just slightly improved (unless the slight improvement makes a huge difference). The megapixels might be the same, but megapixels aren’t that important unless you are blowing a photo up, and how many of us are shooting pics for posters and billboards? And those who are probably aren’t using phone cameras, no matter how good they are.
I can’t wait for them to come out with a battery case for the phone, but until then, I think it will be fine. I really don’t think I’ve found anything I don’t like yet. Reports are that this version of the iphone is boring, but for me, this boring product works like a dream and that is exciting.
Home again and charging my devices!
Of course, since my tortoise thinks she is a cat, I left my suitcase open for 5 minutes and she managed to climb in. I think she is telling me she wants to join in next time! I don’t know how to break it to her that I didn’t bring her an iPhone 5. Think she will settle for my 4S? ;P
I love technology, and opening a new device is always exciting. So far, I like these headphones a lot better than the old earbuds, because they feel more comfortable. They are still not the greatest headphones ever, but they work for my purposes. I don’t necessarily need $300 headphones for what I use my phone for. And even though it’s annoying that I can’t use any of my iPhone cables (I have 3 or 4) with the new phone, I like the Lightning connector much better. It’s smaller and more convenient, and I especially like that it can go in either way, because with the 30-pin connector, if it only went in one way, i’d always choose the wrong way first. I really am loving this phone! Now the big test is the battery life. I really hope it’s an improvement from the 4S, which started out with great battery life, but over time left me needing to charge multiple times/day. Crossing my fingers!
And just like that, it’s all over and I’m home, and it kind of seems unreal yet again. This year, the pre-launch night wasn’t quite as exciting as last year. I mean, how can you top cows and goats?
Either way, once I woke up, the approaching launch event was even more evident by the news trucks parked all around the plaza, the line that not only filled the barriers within the plaza, but stretched around and down the block by FAO Schwartz, and the fact that people actually had to sign out to go find a bathroom. We couldn’t use the Apple Store bathroom, but luckily the new Starbucks across the street was open. How cool is this setup?!
Over the next couple hours before the launch, we waited and watched as the cube (which had been draped in black) was unveiled. Ooooooooooh! Ahhhhhhhhhhh!!!! And all that jazz. We tried to get everything in order so that we would be ready to go for the countdown. Katie was at the Gazelle event at Grand Central, where they have a whole marketplace going on (buying, selling, prizes, etc), so Michelle, another Gazelle rep, came and watched my stuff. Of course there were some freebies, like screen protectors, coffee, and peanut chews. We got our gift cards and, just a little while later, the releases for the Apple video crew and the cards to get our phones. I was debating between the colors, so I ended up getting cards for one black and one white phone so I could choose.
You can tell it’s just about time when you see a sea of blue…the Apple employees are out in full force on launch days. They formed a tunnel outside the cube. Then there was the countdown…5, 4, 3, 2, 1…GO! We moved quickly through the Apple sea, giving high fives to the employees on either side as we went. Then down the stairs into another parted sea of blue shirts, cheering and clapping and high fiving the whole way.
I was greeted by Lori, who was bubbly and sweet, and seemed to be having fun herself. She didn’t even seem put off by the fact that I was completely out of it, saying she would be, too, after 8 days of camping. She got the phones for me, 32 gig black and 32 gig white, and i chose to activate the white phone. I’ve never had a white phone before. I debated last time and ended up choosing black, and later realized I really liked the white version better. So this time I was planning to get a white one, but the black one looked sleeker and prettier because of the back panel, so I decided I might want the black one after all. I went back and forth until Jacob, the first person to ever write to us about our camping adventure last year, and a bit of an Apple expert himself (at the ripe old age of 14), told me that reports said the black iPhone 5 got scratched easily and silver would show through, making any marks on the black phone more evident than on the white one. I figured that made sense and went with the white version as my new method of communication.
We went through the payment process and I had to sign the electronic thingy (yes, thingy, because I don’t feel like looking up the actual word) with my finger. Obviously, I rule at writing electronically with my finger. At LEAST second grade level handwriting!
Then the moment of truth…I got to open the phone and we set it up. And my verdict? I LOVE IT. Love it love it love it love it love it. The internet is fast, the camera is fast, the screen is larger and crystal clear, and even though I was skeptical about the size (the phone is slightly taller that the 4S), it feels great in my hand. It is super light, but somehow feels sturdier, like it won’t break easily. Once we had it set up, which took a little while, I thanked Lori and headed up to meet the others, who were waiting outside.
I didn’t see Brian and Joe after that. If you guys are reading, thank you for being awesome and making the wait fun! I hope your music careers take off! I met with Mike, Keenen, and Jackie, and we did several more interviews. There was another booth this year with the NYPD, who were helping people register their phones so in case they were lost or stolen, they could be more easily returned to the proper owner (and the serial number would be unable to be activated by any carrier once reported stolen) Finally! I hope this system works! I know I wrote about my first two stolen iPhones, but I never wrote about the third, which was literally stolen OUT OF MY HAND a month after the last campout! It was stolen in Chelsea, a really nice area of Manhattan, on a Sunday afternoon…go figure. Even though I tracked it to a specific corner in Brooklyn via Find My iPhone, the police did nothing to help get it back except file a report. I had to get a new one. I really hope the police are finally stepping up. They never seem to take stolen phones seriously, but with something like an iPhone (or any decent smartphone), it is expensive to replace (enough to make it a felony if stolen) and is often integral to a person’s life, containing a good deal of personal information. Kudos if they are starting to realize this.
I hope any of you who got the phone are now enjoying the heck out of it! I’m loving the light weight, the speed, the big screen, and the integrated Facebook and Twitter capabilities (FINALLY)!
Let us know what you think…and who knows…maybe Keenen will post a blog on his first impressions. Hint, hint, Keenen. Ahem, HINT.