Monday, October 22, 2007

Nothing's Perfect

Well its cell phone time again. Leon's been having trouble with his cell phone... and mine's an old clunker - but it works... no camera, low tech as cell phones go.

Well, after checking out a few models, we went to the Apple Store.

The iPhone is quite the gadget (and, no you don't get a link from me on this one). After playing with them for a while and asking LOTS of questions, including about voice activation tags for calling people in your phonebook, we were ecstatic. The iPhone practically sells itself because it is SO AMAZING.

Went right down to ATT to switch to the family plan and bought 2 iPhones from Apple. This major purchase was justified - in lieu of my buying a new digital camera, and Leon buying an iPod and a new phone, and my having a separate phone account. Simplify. Right.

The iPhone has it all. EXCEPT - can you believe it!? - VOICE ACTIVATION!

And here we are, living in a state that has a "hands free only while driving" cell phone law. The iPhone is definitely a two-handed phone. Even without the Law, it would be insane to try to make a simple call with the iPhone while driving! (I think I may be insane.) For $400 it ought to have voice activated software, not to mention a longer battery life. Yeah, ATT has a cumbersome, dysfunctional voice command system for an ADDITIONAL $5 each per month, but that doesn't cut it.

For $400, Apple should at least cover the lousy ATT voice feature on their plan, as a half-assed good will measure. What a disappointment! It actually made me feel ill, knowing I had spent good money on something so COOL, yet so DEFICIENT in such a major way. (Not to mention that registering 2 iPhones and 2 AppleCare Plans was almost impossible as the registration site kept defaulting to the previous registrant.)

Well, the purchase was not an easy one, as that is a CONSIDERABLE sum for us, and was a stretch on the budget, to say the least. I won't deny that the iPhone is a fascinating piece of electronics. But it looks like we're going to return them. We were led to believe that the phone had the voice activation feature, so the Apple Store'd be wise to waive the "restocking fee". Nothing's perfect.

The thing that disturbs me more than anything is that, as much as we try to simplify our lives, we get sucked into complicating them. Yeah, its that feeling of being sucked in, cajoled, duped, persuaded, that makes me cringe. Buying things we really don't need. Having things that require registrations, accounts, warranties, passwords, updates, batteries, chargers, docks, connections, accessories, etc. etc. Things that take more time and leave you with less time. Things purported to make life easier, but in fact end up consuming life. My fear is that it is becoming impossible to simplify or to keep it simple.

I fear that all the complexities of life in the 2thousands are so insidious that they infect us without our full awareness and we find ourselves possessed before we know it.

It takes vigilance, fortitude, determination and a good dose of rebelliousness to keep it simple.

I remember when there were no cell phones. Imagine. Somehow we survived.

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