I unboxed my new Verizon toy/super tool on Monday night. It’s everything I hoped it would be, really. A brilliant and beautiful little thing, that works so painlessly with my Mac. Nearly a week into playing with it (and even using it to make a few phone calls), I’m a very happy Apple fan. Again.
I waited a very long time to jump into the smartphone mess. I’ve been a fan and user of the most simple, sharp tools I can find. For years I hung tightly to a very basic, small, perfect Nokia cell phone. It fit nicely in my pocket, had no extra flippy parts, and only four buttons besides the numbers. I went through three batteries with that little white candy bar. It worked well, and did nothing except help me text and call people, and wake up in the morning. A sharp tool, just what I wanted it to be.
I partnered that Nokia with my “hipster PDA” for years. The hPDA was, I think, thought up by Merlin Mann in about 2004. Click that link for the first and greatest description of the hPDA’s simplicity and genius. I’ve carried one with me most of the past 5 or 6 years. It’s just a stack of index cards, a paper clip, and a black Pilot G2 pen. I jot down my to-do list and schedule for each day on one end of the stack, and scribble notes and sketches on the front and back of cards on the other side. Mine usually also includes a couple business cards people have handed me, and a receipt or little sticky note or two. I even usually make a little logo on the back, just for fun. Every Friday (theoretically) over lunch I flip through my cards from the week, moving the info to it’s home. Phone numbers, websites I want to check out, ideas, to do lists, promises to keep, sketches, verses of poetry, wise quotes… You get the picture. Once I’ve transcribed each card, it gets torn in half and tossed away. Then I reload with some fresh cards.
On this past Christmas day, I lost that little cell phone beauty in a snowdrift somewhere near my Dad’s farm. A casualty of my little brother’s very fast snowmobile, and my stupidly unzipped coat pocket. That, along with not being excited about an involuntary switch to being an AT&T Wireless customer, was enough for me to research the rumored Verizon iPhone 4 coming in February. It would go against my simple and sharp tools approach that had worked so well for me.
But this iPhone is, finally, a multi-tool that is so seemless and gorgeous that it’s worth it to throw out my old stubborn affection for a phone that’s just a phone, and a stack of index cards. It’s a wicked little computer in my pocket: surprises me with powerful apps, takes awesome photos and video, is an iPod touch, a GPS navigator, connects me easily to Twitter, Facebook and Gmail, and even finds itself if I loose it. And in a kick in the crotch to my hipster, it helps me take and organizes note, and even types what I say and emails it or saves it in a document for me. Oh, and it makes phone calls and sends texts too. Did I mention it is gorgeous to see and touch?
It’s been a good ride, my hPDA friend. Farewell…