Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Me vs. The I-Phone

I took the Xpress bus home today, because it goes right by my local library.  It means a longer walk home from the library, but I had a book that was being recalled--Too Many Curses by Gil Martinez.  I won't be doing a full book review, so here goes the quick version: Wizard with a castle full of various monsters dies, and his kobold apprentice is left to hold things together.  Good premise, but the execution is a little pondering.

But that's not the focus here anyway. The story really begins after I return the book, and decide to take out another one.  I try to scan my library card, but the barcode is too faded. So I go up to the librarian, and she tells me that I need to replace my card, which is what I figured.  Then she told me that replacement will be $3.  That's kind of annoying, since it's not my fault their cards use ink that fades fairly easily, but well, it's only three dollars, and I value the service the library provides.  So I pay up.  Then this happens:

"Are you still at XXX St?"
"Oh, no, I'ved moved. I'm at YYYYYYY Ave now."
"Well, then, we'll need to see a proof of address to issue you a new card."

This is not a new problem.  And I am still a student living in a building where the landlord takes care of the utilities, I don't have cable, and my phone bill is about three addresses behind at this point. So the only proof of address I have is the original lease.  And I certainly didn't bring that with me, since I wasn't expecting this problem to begin with. But--and imagine a lightbulb appearing over my head--I did have my iPhone. I could just present the digital lease copy that the landlords sent me.

And this is where the nightmare proper begins.

I barely ever use my phone to surf the Net.  I try to limit my use of online things except when I'm on a local network, and if I'm on a local network, I generally just use the laptop anyway.  So it takes me a little bit to locate the university website. Then a bit longer to figure out how to get to the email (our university has a fairly stupid web layout, and I usually just use the autofill on the address bar of my laptop to get to my mail). Then I have to log in, which takes a few attempts because it's not easy to switch back and forth between  capital letters and small case letters on the iPhone, in order to type the password. Then it's a simple matter of searching through 4000+ emails to find the one from my landlord.  Problem is--and I had no way of knowing this going in--the iPhone version of my university's email system doesn't have a search bar under the default minimal settings.  Or, as I eventually determine, regular settings.  Finally, I find a search option, but it only lists the first seven emails that contain the name of my landlords on the immediate screen, and I can't control the drag bar on the side because every time I touch it, the iPod thinks I've touched the edge of the screen and scrolls down on the main window rather than this sub window.  I also  take time to spend a moment cursing the fates, that my landlords' last name is also a very common regular noun, and is thus found in no less than 360 of my emails.  Of course, searching for them in the "from" category rather than "body" would have found them immediately, but the iPhone version of the email site doesn't have that option.  So I get the idea to sort all my emails alphabetically, and look for them that way.  Good idea, but the execution is slow: the option for next page is right above the option for previous page, and again, even enlarged, the links are too small for me to not hit the wrong one about one time in three. And when I get to the appropriate letter, I figure out that the email sorter is taking a very liberal perspective on the term "alphabetically sorted"--in short, their emails aren't where they should be.  So I set it back to chronological order, and start going through each page of emails--starting with 1 of 247.  Finally, after a good dozen or so pages, I realize that I can skip ahead by changing the number in the address bar. Starting on page 124 and dividing the remaining entries in two every time, I eventually whittle the correct email page down to 101. And I find the email.  And I open it. "Here's the lease, Michael!" and the attachment.

This is when I realize that I can't open attachments on my iPhone.

I explain all of this to the librarian, at great, great length, and eventually she lets me sign out one book, probably to get me to leave.

The worst part is, I can't even hate the phone, because thanks to it, I got to snap some pictures of a bad-ass snowman I passed on the way home:

These photos don't really demonstrate the scale of the snowman--my head came about up to the top of the middle ball.  He's a big fella.

To sum up:  Snowmen good.  Phones good for pictures.  Phones not good for library.

Later Days.

*EDIT: Crap, I just realized I had my laptop with me the whole time. I could have opened it up, logged on, and shown the attachment in under two minutes.  You know.... some days....

No comments: